TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

March 6, 2014

St. Joseph-London to suspend heart bypass surgeries

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

Beginning April 1, St. Joseph-London hospital will voluntarily suspend performing heart bypass surgeries.

The hospital announced Tuesday they submitted the required 30-day notice to the state to suspend performing the surgeries, also referred to as coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures.

The hospital stated the change in services applies only to heart bypass surgeries. The hospital added they would continue to provide advanced cardiac services, which would include performing cardiac catheterizations — also known as elective and emergent interventions — along with electrophysiology services, and Thoracic and Vascular services.

St. Joseph-London’s President, Greg D. Gerard, noted there were fewer heart bypass surgeries being performed at the hospital.

As a result, patients who need elective heart surgery would be referred to St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington.

Both the Lexington and London hospitals are part of KentuckyOneHealth, the largest health care system in the state.

“Consistent with a national trend, the volume of heart bypass procedures performed at SJL (Saint Joseph-London) is declining. Therefore, it is an appropriate time to consolidate with our sister facility where a significant volume of these surgeries are still performed. Performing a higher number of heart bypass procedures enhances the ability of the surgical and cardiac nursing teams to maintain competencies, which can result in better patient outcomes,” Gerard said in a news release.

KentuckyOne Health cited the lower number of heart bypass surgeries in London mirrors a national and statewide trend.

According to the news release, both Kentucky and the nation have seen a significant decrease in the number of heart bypass surgeries in recent years. It pointed out nationwide projections indicated a 15 percent decline in heart bypass surgeries during the next five years.

Medical advances, including the introduction of drug-eluting stents as an effective alternative in many cases to surgery, were mentioned as one of the advances leading to the decline.

Gerard pointed out St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington performed almost 800 heart surgeries in 2013.

“Our patients can be rest assured that they area receiving high quality heart surgery in a facility that has been performing this critical service with distinction for over 55 years,” he said.

A news release stated Saint Joseph-London is vigorously developing strict transfer protocols with emergency transport services in the area, to assure the timely transfer of patients who require emergent bypass surgery.

They added Saint Joseph-London would seek to transport any emergent heart bypass patient to the nearest receiving hospital.

It was mentioned that less than five percent of heart bypasses were classified as emergent,  which means calling for prompt or urgent action.

That’s according to the most recent report from the STS — the Society of Thoracic Surgeons — a Chicago-based organization representing over 6,800 surgeons, dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for heart, lung and esophagus surgeries.

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