When the heart can no longer pump blood, the organs of the body quickly begin to fail, which most commonly occurs as the result of a heart attack. This condition is called cardiogenic shock, and Morristown Medical Center has created New Jersey’s first dedicated medical team to address this life-threatening illness.
According to Linda Suplicki, MSN, RN, APN, CCRN, program coordinator, “In spite of all the technology and advances we have in medicine, we haven’t been able to improve the survival rate of this population.”
Suplicki says that most people with this condition do not make it to the hospital in a timely manner. The new cardiogenic shock team hopes to create awareness of the signs of cardiogenic shock and how to get help faster. “Patients who have had other heart conditions are at higher risk of becoming sicker much more quickly. We have an integrated emergency response team where we can activate cardiac specialists to quickly diagnose and treat the patient with a single phone call,” says Suplicki.
The team includes a cardiac surgeon, an interventional cardiologist and an advanced heart failure cardiologist. The goal is to stabilize the patient within 90 minutes. Therapies used include stenting (using a small mesh balloon to open a blocked artery), cardiovascular bypass, and angioplasty to restore blood flow, or use of short- and long-term devices to help blood circulate through the heart’s chambers.
According to Suplicki, there are about 100 hospitals across the country spearheading this national initiative. The team will be working with EMS and local community hospitals to escalate care quickly and transfer to a tertiary center such as Morristown. “We have the people necessary to make a quick decision utilizing the best technology to save lives. The goal of this initiative is to ensure the patient is receiving the right care at the right time.”