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Our Opinion

June 27, 2013

Happy 10 years of heart care

Ten years ago, thousands of people living in the eight-county region served by Bassett Medical Center in rural upstate New York had few choices when it came to advanced heart care. 

That changed when Bassett opened its comprehensive heart program, the Bassett Heart Care Institute in Cooperstown in 2003. 

We would like to say happy 10 years and we look forward to even more advancements in the future.   

According to a media release, patients in the Bassett region now have ready access to an award-winning cardiac care program that has improved the lives of many through cardiac catheterizations, placement of stents to open blocked arteries, pacemakers to correct erratic heart rhythms, and open heart surgery to restore blood flow, fixed damaged valves and more. In fact, since opening the heart program at Bassett, more than 8,000 catheterizations, 3,000 coronary angioplasties and 1,000 open heart operations have been performed.

“One of the most important advances we brought to the region is the Heart Alert program” Chief of Cardiac Surgery Dr. Robert Lancey said in the release. “We were one of the earlier programs in New York state to establish this life saving process by partnering with local emergency medical services to provide heart attack victims with the best and most rapid treatment possible. It is the gold standard now in heart care.”

The Heart Alert program was created when Bassett provided EMS squads in the region with EKG machines and training to enable the squads to immediately test patients they suspect are having a heart attack. The squad members can then phone ahead to have the Bassett Cardiac Catheterization Lab on stand-by for the patient. Upon arrival, patients can be taken directly to the lab at Bassett, speeding up the process of getting the blocked vessel opened and saving heart muscle. 

Chief of Cardiology Dr. Patrick McNulty said, “We have about 100 heart alerts a year now at Bassett. Many come in during the regular day, but it’s the ones that come in at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning we need the speed for.”

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