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South Shore Hospital News
South Shore Hospital Is First in Region to Launch Elective Coronary Angioplasty Program

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Sarah Darcy
Sept. 28, 2006
781-624-8970

SO. WEYMOUTH, Mass., — Sept. 28, 2006 — South Shore Hospital today became the first hospital in Southeastern Massachusetts to offer elective coronary angioplasty, a procedure that opens blocked coronary arteries.

Earlier this summer, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health authorized South Shore Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to collaboratively enroll patients in a study that will compare elective angioplasty outcomes in hospitals with and without on-site cardiac surgery.

The study – called the MASS COMM Trial – has been developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. Eligible patients who consent to participate in the trial will have their coronary angioplasty procedures performed at either South Shore Hospital or Brigham and Women’s Hospital, based on a randomized assignment process. Three of every four patients are treated at South Shore Hospital; one of four at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Identical coronary angioplasty procedures are performed at each hospital by experienced interventional cardiologists. Each patient’s outcome is reported to and evaluated by the Department of Public Health to compare quality and safety.

Throughout the United States, elective coronary angioplasty is performed in many hospitals that do not offer cardiac surgery. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is conducting the MASS COMM Trial to evaluate whether Massachusetts should be among the states that allows the procedure to be performed in hospitals like South Shore Hospital that do not offer cardiac surgery. A total of six thousand patients will be enrolled in the study in selected hospitals throughout the Commonwealth. The trial is expected to conclude in 2010.

Coronary angioplasty improves blood flow to and from the heart by removing blockages in coronary arteries. The procedure involves inserting a balloon-tipped catheter into a blood vessel in a leg or arm and gently guiding it through the vessel until it reaches the blockage near the heart. The balloon is then inflated to restore better blood flow. Finally, a metallic mesh tube – called a stent – is permanently inserted into the vessel to hold it open. The procedure is successfully conducted on thousands of U.S. patients each year and is widely recognized as a highly effective treatment to clear blocked arteries.

South Shore Hospital has a distinguished track record of providing emergency (unscheduled) coronary angioplasty. Its cardiac interventionalists have successfully performed the procedure to treat individuals experiencing heart attacks. South Shore Hospital is a recognized leader in diagnosing, treating and supporting individuals with cardiovascular disease. The hospital has earned a High Reliability for Cardiac Care Award from MassPro, an independent organization that measures cardiovascular quality at Massachusetts hospitals. In addition, South Shore Hospital is the first hospital in New England to have earned maximum accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. South Shore Hospital will open a $13.5 million Cardiovascular Center this fall to dramatically enhance early detection, diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with cardiovascular disease.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been recognized nationally as a leader, for nearly a century, in delivering the most innovative and comprehensive care for patients with cardiovascular disorders, performing the world’s first successful heart valve surgery, setting standards of care on clot-busting drugs and cholesterol treatment, and discovering the role of C-reactive protein as a major risk factor in cardiovascular disease. Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been consistently ranked as one of America’s best hospitals and a top heart hospital on the U.S. News & World Report® Honor Roll, and has been recognized nationally for the quality of its cardiovascular care.

South Shore Hospital is a 318-bed, not-for-profit, tax-exempt, charitable provider of acute, emergency, outpatient, home health, and hospice care to the people of Southeastern Massachusetts. South Shore Hospital’s home care division includes South Shore Visiting Nurse Association, Hospice of the South Shore, and Home & Health Resources. The hospital’s 900-member medical staff represents all leading medical specialties. South Shore Hospital employs 3,800 people, supported by a team of 600 volunteers. South Shore Hospital is licensed to provide Level II Trauma care and Level III Maternal/Newborn care. Please call (781) 624-MORE (6673) or visit southshorehospital.org for a referral to a South Shore Hospital physician.

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