Some Montanans may know heart disease is America’s No. 1 killer. But they probably don’t know St. James Healthcare in Butte recently saw a 13.4% increase in cardiovascular patients, with future growth expected annually.
That increase highlights the importance of a recent construction project: St. James doubled the size of its cardiac catheterization lab in 2021, thanks to a $4.68 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. This is great news for Southwestern Montanans.
The cath lab is where doctors use special imaging equipment to look at arteries and check the heart’s blood flow. This information is used to diagnose and treat blockages and other arterial problems.
It’s another way SCL Health is providing world-class cardiovascular care close to home.
The cath lab is also state of the art
But there’s more. The equipment in the new lab is “absolute cutting edge,” Bailey said. “Our focus is on interventional capabilities such as balloon angioplasty, stenting of arteries and veins and vascular care.”
St. James also hired a chest pain coordinator to focus on quality improvement, patient outcomes and education to the public about heart disease.
The coordinator, Deanna Montoya, RN, is also spearheading the lab’s effort to achieve the American College of Cardiology’s Chest Pain Center Accreditation. This quality improvement program focuses on efficient, effective care of acute coronary patients.
Honors for quality care
The cath lab has already received honors for its quality care.
In 2021, St. James Healthcare earned platinum recognition from the American College of Cardiology’s NCDR Chest Pain — MI Registry™ Performance Achievement Award, which recognizes consistency in meeting national standards for quality care. Only 212 hospitals nationwide received the honor.
Montoya lauds the lab’s staff.
“We have highly trained nurses, techs, and doctors,” she said. “Our cardiologists perform interventional procedures, install pacemakers, and do angioplasty. We have a cardiologist that also performs arterial procedures for legs and blocked arteries.”
St. James doctors treat arrhythmia and heart rhythm disorders, A-fib, heart attack, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and vascular and arterial disease. Many non-complicated procedures can be done on an outpatient basis, with patients going home after an hour or two.
“Patients don’t have to go out of town for treatment, which saves time and travel,” Montoya said.
Click here to learn more about heart care at St. James.