Time is Muscle. Time is Life
One patient’s life-saving journey
It was Monday, February 16, 2015 and 67 year old Dave Lybarger was experiencing chest discomfort all afternoon, believing the cause was a lingering cold and cough that had persisted for several weeks. When the discomfort did not go away, he and his wife, Deborah, agreed it was time to go to the hospital.
Upon arriving, Deborah dropped Dave off at the Emergency Department (ED) and went to park the car. Lybarger approached the admitting desk where he saw his neighbor working. “I suddenly felt light-headed and fell over like a redwood tree”, Dave said. The ED staff immediately started CPR. His wife soon entered the ED only to see that Lybarger had been revived and was awaiting cardiac catheterization surgery for a heart attack.
Lucky for Lybarger, BID-Plymouth had just opened a new interventional cardiology lab on February 10. He was the first patient to undergo a stent procedure to open his closed arteries, under the direction of interventional cardiologist and associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Dr. Duane Pinto and his team. Dr. Pinto works at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and BID-Plymouth. Prior to February 10, patients like Lybarger would have been transported to Boston for treatment, therefore losing critical time. Now, patients have the ability to receive this life-saving treatment close to home.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston not only supported the opening of BID-Plymouth’s new Interventional Cardiology Lab, but also provides BIDMC trained physicians and staff who work side by side with BID-Plymouth’s staff.
Dr. Donald Cutlip, section chief of interventional cardiology and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, directs the program for BID-Plymouth and BIDMC in Boston. “We know that time is the most important element with this, and we roughly have about 90 minutes from the time the patient shows up in the emergency department. So if we’re sending them to Boston, the transfer uses almost the whole 90 minutes,” Cutlip said. “In this case, the artery was open within 60 minutes and the survival after heart attack is directly related to that time,” he added.
Cutlip expects that the interventional cardiology lab will see 75 to 100 patients undergo treatments locally every year. “We’re in the early stages of things right now, seeing by chance more complex, very sick patients showing up, Some, had they been transferred before we had the procedure here, might not have been able to survive the transfer, that’s how sick they were,” Cutlip said.
Since Lybarger’s treatment, the interventional cardiology lab has treated nine heart attack patients. Six, including Lybarger, have undergone stent procedures.
“I spent the next 48 hours in Critical Care before I was discharged to go home. The entire experience at BID-Plymouth was absolutely fantastic! The staff was so caring and professional, and I was relieved to stay close to home, rather than be transported to Boston. If everything had not happened exactly as it did, I may not be here to share it. I am beyond grateful”, says Lybarger.