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Mer235_First_SPR12_LrgWEB_LEADExpert Doctors, Advanced Treatments: Means More Lives Saved

When it comes to matters of your heart and vascular system (arteries and veins), you don't want to settle. Mercy is a longtime leader in cardiovascular medicine and was named one of the Nation's 100 Top Hospitals® for cardiovascular care by Thomson Healthcare. At Mercy, patients benefit from innovative, less-invasive treatment options, and the skill and experience of world-renowned physicians.

Plus, Mercy patients fare better. Mercy boasts exceptional outcomes for heart and vascular procedures. That means if you or a loved one comes to Mercy for a heart or vascular condition, you're more likely to survive than at other institutions. "We have a level of technical and clinical expertise that is unsurpassed, and we offer one of the more respected teams in the area," says Paul A. Jones M.D., chief of Cardiovascular Services.

Fast Tracks
As a nationally accredited Chest Pain Center, Mercy is a proven leader in treating heart attack. As soon as someone with chest pain enters the Mercy Emergency Department, he or she receives prompt evaluation by cardiologists and emergency physicians. If it is a heart attack, the patient will receive immediate treatment. With a 24-hour cardiac catheterization lab, Mercy offers on-site angioplasty (a procedure to open clogged arteries and restore blood flow to the heart) any time of day or night.

"We have a well-organized, multi-disciplinary team of physicians, nurses and support staff that function on an around-the-clock schedule. The whole team is ready to roll, 24/7," Dr. Jones says.

In-patient heart attack mortality rates at Mercy are just 3 percent, compared with an expected 9 percent benchmark, according to the American College of Cardiology Foundation’s National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR). For patients who require an angioplasty, or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), results are equally impressive and life-saving. Mortality associated with PCI at Mercy is just 1.5 percent, compared with an expected 3.47 percent, according to the NCDR.

People who arrive at Mercy with stroke-like symptoms receive similar fast-track evaluation. Certified as a Primary Stroke Center, the Mercy Stroke Center offers an advanced treatment protocol that provides fast and accurate diagnosis. If a person is identified as a stroke patient, a CT is performed to determine the type of stroke and the best treatment.

Often, drugs can dissolve blood clots and successfully restore blood flow to the brain. When additional intervention is required, Mercy’s doctors utilize the latest techniques and procedures to restore blood flow. If a blockage in the carotid artery (the main source of blood to the brain) is detected, Mercy offers a pioneering, non-invasive stenting procedure to clear the blockage. Dr. Jones was the first in Chicago to repair blockages in the carotid arteries using stents, and Mercy has performed more carotid stent procedures than any other program in the state—with unparalleled outcomes.

Less-Invasive Excellence
Throughout the Heart & Vascular Center, doctors provide innovative, less-invasive treatment alternatives. Dr. Jones has pioneered a number of endovascular procedures and he travels the world speaking and teaching other physicians. Endovascular procedures allow doctors to access parts of the body via the major arteries using catheters and image-guided technology. These procedures are as effective as conventional surgery, but have lower risks, less pain and a faster recovery time.

"We do some of the most complex endovascular procedures in the area," Dr. Jones explains. "We have all the support of technology to provide the best outcomes, even for some of the highest-risk patients."

Options for High-Risk Patients
Patients with aortic aneurysm are exactly that kind of patient. An aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in a weakened section of an artery. Aneurysms that form in the chest portion of the aorta are called thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA), while aneurysms that form in the abdominal portion of the aorta are called abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). Both can be deadly if they rupture. In fact, half of all people with ruptured AAA will die during surgery or within 30 days of surgery.

At Mercy, an aggressive program to screen people at risk for aortic aneurysm is helping diagnose aneurysm before rupture, and giving people a better chance at survival. Dr. Jones uses a groundbreaking, less-invasive technique to repair TAA and AAA. Mercy was the first cardiology team in Chicago to repair AAA and TAA using a minimally invasive approach. Mercy’s survival rate for these life-saving procedures is 100 percent.

Dr. Jones also provides a treatment option for people who otherwise have dim prospects. Occasionally, patients with very advanced heart or vascular disease are not good candidates for isolated non-surgical repair, and the risks are too high for traditional surgery. At Mercy, Dr. Jones and his team are able to combine less-invasive and open-surgery in a hybrid procedure for the sickest, highest-risk patients.

"By getting creative with endovascular strategies and working in conjunction with our excellent surgeons and interventional radiologists, we have put together a program that is clearly second to none."




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