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Providence St. Mary first to offer round-the-clock emergency interventional treatment for heart attacks

February 16, 2015

Walla Walla, WA—Providence St. Mary Medical Center has expanded its cardiology program to include emergency angioplasty and stents for the treatment of heart attacks 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Providence is the first hospital in Walla Walla to offer emergency percutaneous coronary intervention (angioplasty/stents) every hour of every day. It also is the first to have 24/7 cardiology coverage, which means a cardiologist is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week to provide cardiology consultations.

This marks a significant advancement for cardiac care in our community. Until now, interventional cardiology was only available four days a week in Walla Walla at Walla Walla General Hospital. When heart attacks occurred outside of these days, patients had to be transported by ambulance out of the community for care.

“A heart attack caused by a blockage can happen at any moment, and the nearest facility that provides interventional cardiology 24-hours a day is in the Tri-Cities,” said Robert Watilo, Chief Strategy Officer at Providence St. Mary.“We believe that it is important for people in the community to have this potentially lifesaving procedure available at all hours, day or night, in Walla Walla.”

Percutaneous coronary intervention is considered the primary therapy for heart attack. During the procedure, an interventional cardiologist feeds a catheter to the site of the blockage in the heart. A balloon is inflated to open the artery, improving the blood flow. A stent often is placed to keep the artery open. (Learn more about the procedure here.)

Providence St. Mary in January added two interventional cardiologists, Dr. Lisa Abrahams and Dr. Imran Zubair, to the program. The Providence St. Mary Heart & Vascular Center is now the largest cardiology service in Walla Walla.

Dr. Lisa Abrahams is a Whitman College graduate and US Army veteran. She is board certified in internal medicine, cardiology and interventional cardiology. Dr. Abrahams attended medical school at the American University of the Caribbean in Coral Gables, FL, and completed her internship, residency and fellowship at Letterman Army Medical Center, Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA. She has a particular interest in women’s heart disease issues, as well as interventional cardiology and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Imran Zubair is board certified in cardiology, electrophysiology, internal medicine and interventional cardiology. He received his medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine in Birmingham, AL, and performed his internship and residency at University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. His fellowship was at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City.

The interventional cardiologists are practicing in collaboration with medical cardiologists Dr. Suwong Wongsuwan and Dr. Steven Maxood, and cardiology advanced registered nurse practitioners Sara Hellberg and Evelyn Rhynard.

The introduction of emergency interventional cardiology marks the next step forward in Providence St. Mary’s cardiac program. The program already includes invasive and noninvasive cardiology, pacemaker implantation and a cardiac rehabilitation program.

The interventional cardiology program also further enhances Providence St. Mary’s critical care services, which include a hospitalist program staffed 24/7 with internists, three pulmonary and critical care specialists, the only local emergency department where every physician is board certified in emergency care, and a state-of-the-art ICU staffed by nurses certified in critical care.

“By adding interventional cardiology, we can offer patients a full continuum of care all on one campus – from emergency room, to intervention, recovery and our cardiac rehabilitation program,” said Steve Burdick, CEO. “We also are linking patients with severe cardiac issues to the larger Providence system of medical centers, including Kadlec Regional Medical Center, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and the Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute, for open heart surgery and other advanced procedures not available in Walla Walla. Providence has some of the most advanced cardiac care centers in the nation.”

About St. Mary Medical Center

Providence St. Mary Medical Center, a 141-bed regional hospital located in Walla Walla, Wash., is the fourth largest employer in Walla Walla County. The Providence Medical Group is the largest group of primary care providers and specialists in the Walla Walla area.

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