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Monday, Jun 5, 2023

Some Heart Patients Will Bypass Henry Mayo Facility

Those experiencing an especially dangerous type of heart attack in the Santa Clarita Valley will now be transported to facilities in the San Fernando or Antelope valleys instead of closer Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, which does not meet new county standards. A new policy put into place Jan. 1 by the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency calls for all victims of ST-elevated myocardial infarction, or STEMI, heart attacks in L.A. County to be taken to the nearest hospital equipped with a special lab to treat victims. The idea is to offer victims the fastest and best care possible. However, the Santa Clarita Valley has justone acute care facility, Henry Mayo, and it does not have a cath lab. For the moment, that means patients will have to be taken somewhere else, said Dr. William Koenig, EMS medical director for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. “What will happen now is those patients will go to the closest one, which is Holy Cross,” he said. STEMI heart attack victims from northern Santa Clarita Valley may also be taken to Antelope Valley Hospital, which also has the designation, he said. Officials from Henry Mayo are aware of the problem and are trying to find a solution, said hospital spokeswoman Andie Bogdan. “We’re working toward that designation, but we don’t have it now,” she said. “We’ve always been a little behind in the arena of cardiology because we have not had the ability to provide the interventional emergency treatment.” Bogdan said Henry Mayo is working to construct a cardiac catheterization lab, part of a master plan approved by the Santa Clarita planning commission this month. The 2,500 square-foot facility is expected to open this year. Henry Mayo receives about 250 patients a year experiencing a heart attack. The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services estimates as many as 5 percent of those are actually the more serious STEMI attacks, which can cause permanent damage to heart muscle if not treated early enough. Is it faster? Under the new system, paramedics in the field will determine if a heart attack victim has suffered a STEMI attack. If that’s the case, the paramedics will contact the closest STEMI receiving center, which will have cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons on call 24 hours a day and special equipment. “These hospitals all have (heart catheterization) labs but in addition, they have made a commitment to setting up systems of care in the hospital that will respond immediately to the patient with a STEMI,” Koenig said. Paramedics will then take the victim directly to the closest receiving center within 30 minutes even if that means passing up other hospitals on the way. So far, the county has designated the special centers at Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center, Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster and Glendale Adventist Medical Center. The county could have as many as 36 STEMI hospitals and any hospital that meets certain standards can apply for the designation. “Whether the hospital decides whether they want to enroll in this is up to the hospital themselves,” Koenig said. Glendale Adventist President and CEO Morre L. Dean said the designation is important to both the hospital and the community. “Residents of Glendale need to have that available to them,” he said. “Every minute is important, from the time that paramedic arrives at the scene to the time we are dilating that person in the cath lab.” It also keeps Adventist’s doctors on their toes, he said. “All of our areas are better because of that: our ER is sharper, our lab is sharper, imaging is sharper,” he said. “Everything is sharper.” As for Henry Mayo, Bogdan said the hospital plans to apply for the designation once the hospital’s cath lab is completed, although that’s still years away. Until then, victims will be taken outside the Santa Clarita Valley for treatment. Koenig said that despite the long distances Holy Cross is about 14 miles from Henry Mayo in Mission Hills the arrangement is the best possible option for heart attack victims. “There’s a lot of stuff that’s going on concurrently. So when paramedics are transporting a patient, it’s not like that is lost time,” he said. “This is the best.”

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