Choosing A Heart Program

It can be difficult to choose among the many places offering prevention, diagnosis and treatment for heart disease - and even harder to know what questions to ask so you can be sure your choice is right for you. Here are some factors for you to consider:

  • Credentials
  • Experience
  • Outcomes
  • Patient Feedback

In addition, here is a list of questions you can ask to help you determine the quality of a hospital's heart program:

Is the hospital an accredited Chest Pain Center?

During a heart attack, time is muscle. Fast and accurate diagnosis of patients with heart attack symptoms saves heart muscle and lives. Hospitals designated as "Chest Pain Centers" have demonstrated that they provide the most appropriate treatment for chest pain and heart attack symptoms, with outstanding clinical results. AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center 's two campuses, in Pomona and Atlantic City, are accredited Chest Pain Centers -- designated by the The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.
If you experience chest pain, call 911 immediately.

Does the hospital offer primary (emergency) angioplasty services?

Cardiac catheterization not only helps doctors visualize blocked arteries - it can also be an effective way to unblock them during a heart attack. Not every hospital has an emergency team of cath lab physicians and staffers available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you're having a diagnostic (outpatient) catheterization, it's important to know whether the hospital also offers cardiac surgery services - in case of complications that require emergency treatment.

AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center is the ONLY hospital in southeastern New Jersey offering angioplasty and open-heart surgery. ARMC also offers cardiac catheterization services on an outpatient basis.

Does the hospital have a cardiac surgery program? If so, how well do they perform?

Choosing a hospital that performs large volumes of similar procedures can help your chances for a successful outcome. Ask how many cases your hospital and physician have performed.

The Heart Institute at ARMC offers nearly every surgical intervention available for heart disease today, including coronary artery revascularization, with or without cardio-pulmonary bypass ("beating heart" surgery); minimally invasive valve repair or valve replacement; and aortic reconstruction for aneurysm or dissection. More than 90 percent of patients having bypass surgery at ARMC undergo endoscopic vein harvesting, a minimally invasive approach allowing the removal of healthy veins from the leg through one-inch incisions. Our cardiac surgeons, James Dralle, MD, and Howard Axelrod, MD, have more than 30 years of cardiac surgery experience. They are members of the Department of Cardiac Surgery and are on the faculty of New York University School of Medicine. The surgeons are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

According to a report by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, the average 30-day mortality rate in the state for cardiac bypass surgery is 2.15%. The Heart Institute at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center's mortality rate is just .7%, the lowest cardiac bypass surgery mortality rate in New Jersey. In addition, ARMC outcomes compare favorably to cardiac surgery programs throughout the tri-state area.

Does the hospital have a stroke program?

AtlantiCare’s Neurosciences Institute uses the most advanced technology to diagnose and treat stroke and stroke-like syndromes and other neurological disorders of the brain and spine 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We offer patients expert treatment in all areas of neuroscience, including the diagnosis and treatment of aneurysms, tumors, and other intracranial diseases.

Whether a patient needs elective spine surgery to relieve chronic pain or a complex emergency procedure to repair a life-threatening traumatic spine injury, our dedicated, experienced team provides the most advanced, quality care available.

Learn more about AtlantiCare's Neurosciences Institute »

How do patients rate the hospital?

Ask how your hospital performed on patient satisfaction surveys. The Heart Institute enjoys consistently outstanding patient satisfaction ratings.

ARMC is also the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet designated hospital in March 2004.

More information about ARMC's awards and recognition »

Learn about Quality Healthcare at AtlantiCare »

Patient Stories »

What other credentials does the hospital have?

The Heart Institute at ARMC is affiliated with New York University Medical Center's prestigious cardiac surgery program. In 2003, NYU Medical Center was named the best cardiac care hospital in the country by Modern Maturity magazine. World-renowned NYU cardiothoracic surgeons Stephen Colvin, MD, and Eugene Grossi, MD, pioneers in minimally invasive cardiac surgery, helped design ARMC's cardiac surgery program, hand-selected our surgeons and trained our cardiac healthcare staff. They continue to be an integral part of ARMC's cardiac program.

Does the staff have advanced training?

Nursing and other medical professionals who are certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support have undergone special training to care for the critical needs of patients with heart trouble. At AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, nurses, cath lab staff and other medical professionals undergo rigorous training to achieve the ACLS certification.

 

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