HUNDREDS of cardiac patients will be treated closer to home after now that a specialist heart service has opened in Scunthorpe.
Until now patients from North or North East Lincolnshire, who have been suffering chest pains, have had to travel to Hull or Leeds for a procedure known as elective angioplasty.
Angioplasty involves widening one or more narrowed coronary arteries to allow the blood to flow more easily through to the heart muscle.
The procedures will be performed by Dr Joseph John, Dr Sudipta Chattopadhyay and Dr Nandakumar Ramasami.
Dr John said: "We are extremely proud to be able to offer this new service as previously patients requiring percutaneous coronary angioplasty have had to travel outside of the area.
"Thanks to this investment we can now offer a local service for local people from the Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole areas.
"This will go a long way in improving patient care by reducing waiting times, eliminating the inconvenience of travel and providing an efficient NICE compliant treatment."
Patients are treated in the imaging department under a local anaesthetic and using X-ray screening.
A catheter – a thin, flexible, hollow tube – is inserted into an artery either in the groin or the arm and then into the heart artery. A small inflatable balloon is then inserted through the catheter.
Using imaging the balloon is directed to the coronary artery until the tip reaches a narrow or blocked section.
The balloon is gently inflated so that it squashes the fatty deposits, allowing the blood to flow more freely. Following this, a stent – a small tube of stainless steel mesh – which is mounted on a balloon expands as the balloon inflates. Once the balloon is deflated, it is removed leaving the stent in place.
About 600 patients a year will benefit from the new service.