Harvard Heart Letter

Angioplasty and stenting safe in smaller hospitals

In the early days of cardiac catheterization, it was necessary to have a heart surgeon standing by in case something went wrong. But such problems have become extremely rare. Now emergency percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is often performed at hospitals without on-site cardiac surgery. Even when it’s not an emergency, a recent Harvard study confirms that outcomes are the same after diagnostic cardiac catheterization regardless of whether a hospital is staffed and equipped for heart surgery—as long as the hospital and the interventional cardiologist regularly perform these procedures and meet certain quality standards.
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