The Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota just received accreditation on its carotid stenting procedures and protocol. As Nancy Naeve Brown explains, what that means for you is assurance that specialists are doing all the right things for the right reason.
Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Michael Bacharach is placing a stent to open up this woman's blocked carotid artery. He is performing this non-invasive procedure in the Avera Heart Hospital's state-of-the-art hybrid robotic lab. The carotid arteries are the two major blood vessels on each side of our neck that carry blood from the heart to the brain. The patient, who doesn't want to be identified, had initially gone to her primary care physician because of numbness and tingling in her left hand. Further testing showed the blockage and her age put her at high risk for stroke.
"With this one we used what is called embolic protection. There is a little filter device you snake up above the area and when we balloon and stent if any debris were to break away and go up it goes into the filter and gets trapped and then we pull it out," Dr. Bacharach said.
It's one of the extra steps Dr. Bacharach and his well trained team take to ensure the patient's safety during the procedure. It's also one of the many reasons the Avera Heart Hospital was granted a 3 year term of accreditation in carotid stenting by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. IAC is the premier, independent, nationally recognized accrediting body that represents multiple specialties.
"What it means is they look at a program, they ask you to submit cases, and they review those cases. They ask are those appropriate, did you use the right criteria, is your imaging equipment adequate, is your personnel trained, do you have training programs in place and quality assurance programs? They look at all those things, you apply and what it does is provides at least a baseline that number one we are doing the right things for the right reason. We had outside review to look at our program. It's like everything else there are checks and balances. This is our checks and balances. This makes certain we are doing the right things and not just doing things," Dr. Bacharach said.
It's like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval but more intense. When it comes to matters of the heart and your arteries you want a nationally accreditated program that's proven to be the best in the nation at doing what they do best and that what you get at the Avera Heart Hospital.
The Avera Heart Hospital is only the 5th site in the nation to receive this designation.