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Release Date: 03/30/2015

Care New England has received approval from the Rhode Island Department of Health to develop and implement a coronary angioplasty program at Kent Hospital in Warwick.

Coronary angioplasty is a procedure that opens a blocked coronary artery by inflating a balloon and stent in the diseased artery. It is often used for patients suffering from a sudden heart attack. Angioplasty is also effective in relieving symptoms among more stable patients who experience chest discomfort or angina due to coronary artery disease. Currently, there are three hospitals in the state (two in Providence and one in Woonsocket) that offer the procedure.

It is expected the elective angioplasty program will be operational after several months of clinical preparation including staff training at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Also, the 24-hour, emergency angioplasty service would follow approximately six months later upon the completion of construction of a second cardiac catheterization lab.

"On behalf of Care New England and Kent Hospital, I would like to thank the Rhode Island Department of Health for its thorough review and approval of our application for a certificate of need to perform coronary angioplasty at Kent Hospital," said Michael Dacey, Jr., MD, Kent Hospital president and COO. "This standard-of-care procedure will result in lives saved because of decreased travel time to access this critical treatment."

Data presented to the state Department of Health during the approval process demonstrated that patients residing south of the metro Providence area (more than 300,000 Rhode Islanders) would benefit greatly from expanded access to coronary angioplasty via the new program at Kent Hospital. This is because the longer it takes to open a blocked artery in someone having a heart attack, the greater the risks of poor outcomes, including death and disability. The medical evidence is clear that minutes matter and there are many patients residing in both Kent and Washington Counties who will see their risks of dying reduced by almost 10 percent as a result of the new program at Kent due to decreased transport and transfer times. Also, because more heart muscle will be saved by earlier intervention, the risk of developing congestive heart failure and disability will likewise be reduced substantially.

Data presented during the approval process also showed that for many patients in parts of Kent County and further south it is possible that transportation to a current facility capable of providing this treatment could add upwards of 20 minutes travel beyond Kent Hospital, thereby delaying critical treatment for some 300,000 Rhode Islanders.

"For patients having a heart attack, 20 minutes and even 10 minutes, is an enormous amount of time and can be the difference between someone living or dying. Reducing this time to open a closed artery will clearly save lives starting in year one," said Dr. Chester Hedgepeth, MD, PhD., chief of cardiology at Kent and the leader of the Brigham and Women's Cardiovascular Associates at Care New England, executive chief of cardiology at CNE.

Despite advances in prevention, heart disease remains the single largest cause of death in the United States and Rhode Island. Nationally, heart disease results in almost 600,000 deaths each year.

"As the second largest hospital in Rhode Island and with nearly 70,000 emergency department visits annually, it is vitally important that we be able to provide this life-saving service to the more than 300,000 people in the immediate service area of Kent and points south. We look forward, through our clinical affiliation with Brigham and Women's Hospital, to developing this critical program for our community," said Dr. Dacey.

"The cardiology program across Care New England, and here at Kent, has grown tremendously over the past several years to provide access to and treatment for general and complex cardiovascular care. Today's approval is another important step in providing the community and patients with the best possible care close to home," said Dr. Hedgepeth.

With the addition of the angioplasty program, Care New England Cardiovascular Care provides clinical expertise and treatment from basic cardiac health to all but the most complex. With access to cardiologists across the state, patients are presented with options on where to receive the most convenient care including Kent Hospital, Memorial Hospital and the new Women's Heart Health of Women & Infants located downtown Providence. The cardiovascular service offers a full range of testing and evaluative services as well as advanced services such as cardiac arrhythmia, advanced valvular heart disease and heart failure clinic.

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About Kent Hospital

Kent Hospital, a Care New England Hospital, is a 359-bed, acute care hospital. It is Rhode Island’s second largest hospital, serving approximately 300,000 residents of central Rhode Island.

A teaching affiliate of The University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kent offers programs in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and an Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Fellowship. Kent’s redesigned Emergency Department (ED) sees approximately 70,000 patients a year and ranks Kent’s ED volume among the top 10-percent nationally. It was the first hospital in the state to eliminate the practice of ambulance diversion.

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Jim Beardsworth
P: (401) 737-7010, ext. 31395