Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

New heart op 'could save lives'

Image of heart attack
The operation opens up blocked arteries, which can cause heart attacks

An emergency heart operation which health officials claim could save dozens of lives is being introduced at a Hertfordshire hospital.

Primary angioplasty patients have a miniature balloon inserted into an artery to "squash" blockages.

From 6 April, the procedure will be carried out at Lister Hospital, which will join a small number of hospitals in the East with heart attack centres.

Patients requiring the operation will be fast-tracked, said the hospital.

'No delays'

It is one of the first developments to come out of the strategy "Towards The Best, Together", aimed at making the region's health services the best in the country.

Dr Diana Gorog, one of the five consultant cardiologists who will carry out the procedure, said: "Everyone will be fast-tracked. There is a dedicated hotline for paramedics to call ahead once they have diagnosed a heart attack.

"This means there will be no delays in A&E as patients will be received by a team of cardiac specialists as soon as they reach the hospital and will be whisked straight to the operating room.

"This will undoubtedly save lives and is great news for everyone in the area."

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