Specialist Lincoln heart attack service exceeds targets in first year

Some 18 months after a 24/7 specialist heart attack centre was opened in Lincoln, the service has been recognised for delivering gold standard treatment.

The Lincolnshire Heart Centre, based at Lincoln County Hospital, has exceeded all national targets for its service across Lincolnshire.

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) run centre was officially opened on Wednesday, September 4 2013 by HRH The Duke of Kent.

The project cost £4.3 million and has provided new cardiac catheterisation laboratories with direct access for ambulances, a new recovery unit and cardiac short stay unit.

HRH The Duke of Kent unveiling the plaque next to Clinical Lead for the Lincolnshire Heart Centre Dr David O’Brien. Photo: ULHT

HRH The Duke of Kent unveiling the plaque next to Clinical Lead for the Lincolnshire Heart Centre Dr David O’Brien. Photo: ULHT

When a patient has a heart attack, wherever they live in the county, the patient is transferred to Lincoln County Hospital by ambulance where ambulance staff have direct access to the centre without patients having to go to A&E first.

People are being seen and treated quickly, and survival rates from heart attacks are higher than nationally.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The Lincolnshire Heart Centre introduced innovative treatment in April 2013. The PPCI (primary percutaneous coronary intervention) procedure involves using a small balloon to restore blood flow to a blocked artery.

Once unblocked, the artery is kept open by implanting a metal tube called a stent. When performed as an emergency for a heart attack this is known as a primary angioplasty and is the most effective treatment for patients suffering the most severe form of heart attack.

In the first year the Heart Centre performed over 464 PPCI procedures and has seen as many if not more patients as other specialist centres within the East Midlands.

The Heart Centre has also exceeded recommended national targets set by the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP).

The target from the time that an ambulance is called until the coronary artery is opened using PPCI (known as call to balloon) is less than 150 minutes. The heart centre achieved this in 87.3% of cases against the national average of 82.3%, achieving an average time of 117.5 minutes.

The centre also exceeded the recommended target from the time of the patient arriving at the heart centre until the coronary artery is opened using PPCI (known as door to balloon) which is less than 90 minutes.

The Heart Centre performed this within 90 minutes for 99% of patients, against a national average of 88%. The average time was 27 minutes. The national average was 40 minutes.

Maria Willoughby, acute cardiac practitioner at the Lincolnshire Heart Centre said: “We’re delighted with the results the Lincolnshire Heart centre has achieved so far. Achieving a “call to balloon” and “door to balloon” time better than the national averages is even more of a challenge in such a rural area as Lincolnshire.”

Inside the Lincolnshire Heart Centre. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Inside the Lincolnshire Heart Centre. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Dr David O’Brien, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist and Clinical Lead, said: “The achievements are a reflection of the dedication, determination and competence of the team involved in providing this service and the working partnerships that have been developed with the emergency services and the other hospitals within the region.

We have also seen a reduction in the length of stay for patients from an average of nine days to three days.

“One of the greatest achievements are the mortality rates for the centre which are much lower than the national average.

“Our 30 day mortality figure is 5.7%, compared with a national 30 day mortality of 8.1% for all hospitals and 7.9% for dedicated heart attack centres. This means fewer people die in Lincolnshire following a heart attack than elsewhere.”