Tift Regional selected for statewide study - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Tift Regional selected for statewide study

October 16, 2005

Tifton-- A south Georgia hospital is selected for a statewide heart procedure study.

Tift Regional Medical Center is one of 10 hospitals in the state to participate in a 3 year study that's meant to save lives. The study will determine if hospitals are able to perform angioplasty procedures without having an on-site cardiac surgery program. Angioplasty is a procedure used to unblock clogged arteries.

Current regulations prevent hospitals from performing angioplasty without having open-heart surgery as a backup. Currently when the procedure is needed, patients have to be transferred to other hospitals that have open heart surgery programs. Doctors at Tift Regional say that regulation costs patients, especially in rural areas.

"It's sad to see people have a heart attack and then have to transfer them. Once they've been transferred here, then transfer them a second place to get their heart attack treated," says Dr. Paul Murray of Cardiology.

The trial will allow selected hospitals to perform the procedures without the regulation. After the trial, the Department of Community Health will determine if hospitals will be able to perform the angioplasty procedures permanently. Other hospitals selected for the study include John D. Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville and Southeast Georgia Regional Hospital in Brunswick.

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