Patients needing vital treatment to widen or unblock blood vessels in their heart at Scunthorpe hospital are now being treated and discharged on the same day.
Traditionally people needing stents – percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) – had their procedure and then spent the night on the coronary care unit (CCU). However, patients are now being seen as day cases and are back at home the same day.
This is thanks to the team working on the planned investigation unit (PIU) as they now provide the care for patients before and after their procedure.
PCI is a non-surgical procedure that uses a catheter (a thin flexible tube) to place a stent to open up blood vessels in the heart. The heart is a muscle and needs a good blood supply in order to work properly. If the vessels become narrow or blocked then it prevents sufficient blood flow which can cause chest discomfort (angina) and it increases the risk of having a heart attack.
The procedure is carried out in a cath lab – cardiac catheterisation laboratory – as clinicians need to use x-rays to see where the stents need to be placed in the heart.
Gemma Sugden, cath lab manager, said: “This new day case service is great news for patients as they no longer need to stay in hospital overnight. They can be back in their own home just a few hours after the procedure.”
PIU sister Vicky Bailey and her team care for the patients before and after they have had their procedure. She said: “We provide a patient-centred package of care for our stent patients for up to six hours after their procedure to make sure they are medically ok to go home.”
Dr Simon Thackray, consultant cardiologist, said: “The majority of our patients are now routinely seen as a day case; however there may be instances where they need an overnight admission.”
He said: “Using a dye we can see on the x-ray where the narrowing or blockage is. We then guide a small balloon which stretches the narrowing before inserting the stents. These small “mesh” tubes remain in the artery to scaffold the area.”
One of the first patients to go through the new service was Kevin Young (61), of Cleethorpes. He had been suffering from angina and had been booked in to have stents. He said his first appointment had been cancelled as the bed allocated to him on CCU had been given to an emergency patient.
“When I came back they said they had a new service which meant I didn’t have to stay overnight as long as everything went ok and there were no complications. The service was fantastic. The staff were wonderful and everything went smoothly and I was home by teatime. I couldn’t have asked for better care.”