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2008 Press Releases
Morton Plant Mease Expands Heart Care Program

New “Mease Countryside Emergency Cardiac Center” Provides Emergency Heart Procedures

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla., (February 4, 2008) - In less than two hours – just 90 minutes – the heart muscle in a patient experiencing a heart attack called an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) begins to die. But if within an hour and a half, the patient is taken to a hospital and receives help from a heart care team specializing in stopping STEMIs they can make a full recovery.

Morton Plant Mease is now providing greater access to emergency heart care for STEMI patients by announcing the newly created Mease Countryside Emergency Cardiac Center. The Center is staffed and equipped to perform a minimally invasive medical procedure called a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) - also known as an angioplasty.

“Morton Plant Mease has a long and distinguished history as a leader in heart care. We were the first in Pinellas County to perform coronary angioplasty at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater. Now, with the creation of the Mease Countryside Emergency Cardiac Center in Safety Harbor, we’re serving the health care needs of even more heart patients across the county and beyond,” said James Pfeiffer, F.A.C.H.E., executive vice president, Morton Plant Mease Health Care and administrator, Mease Countryside Hospital.

Caused by a completely blocked coronary artery, STEMIs are considered the most critical type of heart attack. Nearly half a million Americans experience a STEMI each year, according to the American Heart Association.

A PCI involves maneuvering a tiny wire into a blocked coronary artery and then inflating a balloon to re-open the artery and restore blood flow to the heart. A stent or slender, wire, mesh tube may then be placed in the re-opened artery to keep it open.

“This is a life saving procedure where every minute counts. STEMI patients experience the classic symptoms we often associate with a heart attack – crushing chest pain, weakness and nausea. Restoring coronary blood flow as soon as possible is crucial in order to prevent permanent damage to the heart,” said Richard Sola, M.D., cardiologist and medical director of Mease Countryside Emergency Cardiac Center.

Mease Countryside Emergency Cardiac Center began providing emergency PCIs in the fall of 2007. Since then, more than 40 of the procedures have been performed.

In addition to emergency PCIs, the heart team at Mease Countryside Emergency Cardiac Center also performs scheduled cardiac catheterization. A catheterization is a diagnostic test that determines if blood is flowing properly to the heart. Both PCI’s and catheterizations are done in a newly redesigned cardiology department that’s located adjacent to new emergency and imaging departments at Mease Countryside Hospital. The cardiology department features:

  • An all digital cardiac catheterization lab
  • An electrocardiograms and echocardiograms (EKG/ECHO) unit to test for heart abnormalities
  • Cardiac stress testing lab that includes nuclear medicine testing

Established in 1985, Mease Countryside Hospital is a 300-bed facility committed to improving the health of everyone it serves. Since 1997 Mease Countryside has been awarded nine Top 100 Hospital designations in the areas of stroke, orthopaedic, intensive care and overall care by the Solucient 100 Top Hospitals: National Benchmarks for Success. In 2003, the hospital was awarded Magnet Designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the most prestigious national recognition of excellence in nursing care. The hospitals of Morton Plant Mease Health Care are part of the first group of hospitals nationally to have earned re-certification of the Gold Seal of Approval™ for stroke care from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Mease Countryside Hospital is located at 3231 McMullen Booth Rd., Safety Harbor, Fla., (727) 725-6111.

Nationally recognized for health care excellence, Morton Plant Mease Health Care is dedicated to providing community owned health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. Morton Plant Mease Health Care is comprised of the following hospitals – Morton Plant, Clearwater; Mease Dunedin, Dunedin; Mease Countryside, Safety Harbor and Morton Plant North Bay, New Port Richey.

Contact: Beth Hardy (727) 298-6199 Phone, (727) 402-8113 Pager or Amy Morrow (727) 461-8538 Phone, (727) 402-5975 Pager