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New heart procedures at Cape Canaveral Hospital greatly reduces dangers for Barrier Island & Merritt Island residents and visitors

Emergency transport times are drastically cut by new life-saving heart procedures offered at Cape Canaveral Hospital.

COCOA BEACH, FL New heart procedures are now being performed at Cape Canaveral Hospital that will significantly cut the amount of time until life-saving treatment is available for barrier island and Merritt Island residents as well as the nearly 3 million cruise ship passengers at Port Canaveral each year.

Cape Canaveral Hospital is now among only 25 percent of U.S. hospitals able to perform life-saving percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures for patients suffering heart attacks. According to the American Heart Association, PCI is the preferred method for treating STEMI heart attacks, considered among the most dangerous, therefore requiring more immediate treatment.

"Any barrier island community presents its own set of challenges when quickly transporting a patient to the hospital," said Orlando Dominguez, chief of EMS Operations for Brevard County Fire Rescue. "When it comes to cardiac-related EMS calls, time is muscle. The further we have to drive, the greater the risk to the patient. Now having Cape Canaveral Hospital as an option can cut that drive time down by as much as 20 to 30 minutes depending on traffic. Having Cape Canaveral Hospital as the closest destination also allows us to keep our EMS crews closer to the communities they serve, and available for the next call."

Until now, STEMI patients would either need to be flown from Cape Canaveral Hospital to Holmes Regional Medical Center, or would be transported by ground to other area hospitals as far as 30 minutes away from the original call (depending on traffic conditions).

In addition to performing PCI, Cape Canaveral Hospital is also now able to perform stent procedures by accessing a patient's arteries through the wrist, a newer technique that according to industry experts increases the odds of surviving a major heart attack.

"Most people don't think about it, but being on a barrier island limits your options in an emergency," said Vicki Crosswell, Director of Imaging Services at Cape Canaveral Hospital. "We have always been the closest destination for emergency treatment to the millions of Port visitors and barrier island residents. Now we are the closest destination for emergency treatment when it comes to life-threatening heart attacks."

When minutes count the most, having PCI and stent procedures available at Cape Canaveral Hospital now means patients from Cocoa Beach or Cape Canaveral and other barrier island communities are only minutes away from life-saving procedures that until now might have been too far, or too late.