Synchronized plan provides lifesaving heart attack treatment at The Hospital of Central Connecticut

February 28, 2014 By Kimberly Gensicki, 860-224-5900, X6507

New Britain - After two days of relentless chest pain, Sean Curry, cigarette in hand, drove himself to The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) Family Health Center in Bristol. At 38, he’d quickly learn he was having a heart attack, setting wheels in motion for a rapid, coordinated response for his lifesaving angioplasty within 42 minutes of arrival to HOCC.

Curry’s doctor at the Family Health Center saw him right away that Friday morning, Jan. 10. “‘I don’t know how to tell you this,’” he recalls her saying after she took vitals and an EKG, “‘but I called an ambulance. You’re having a heart attack.’” Then she gave him two aspirin.

Within minutes, a highly synchronized care plan would have Bristol Hospital EMS providers bring him to The Hospital of Central Connecticut for a successful angioplasty procedure by interventional cardiologist Manny Katsetos, M.D., that cleared the blood clot in an artery around the heart that triggered his ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) heart attack. Katsetos also placed a stent a mesh-like pipe into the artery to keep it open. Curry had 99 percent right coronary blockage.

That 42-minute door to balloon (D2B) time from hospital arrival to angioplasty is well below the 90 minutes or less D2B time recommended by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology guidelines.

HOCC’s designation as a STEMI receiving hospital by the State of Connecticut means patients have a 90 minutes or less D2B time. HOCC’s mean D2B time is 61 minutes, one of the lowest in Central Connecticut and Greater Hartford and consistently lower than recommended guidelines, according to Justin Lundbye, M.D., FACC, chief of Cardiology at HOCC.

In Curry’s case, says Katsetos, D2B timeframe was “incredible” as Curry first went for an EKG at the Family Health Center and then to HOCC for cardiac angioplasty. “It was total clockwork,” he notes, adding everyone works as a team “providing the standard of care using the newest technology, integrating all aspects of the healthcare resources.”

Lundbye also cites teamwork, crediting the hospital’s low D2B time to a well-integrated plan involving area EMS responders who benefit from the hospital’s inservices, Emergency Department, and interventional cardiologists and staff who perform angioplasties.

Curry, a Bristol resident, remembers the ambulance arriving at the Family Health Center, 22 Pine St., within about 7 minutes.

“On the way to the hospital they (EMS) were in communication with the cath lab, setting up my procedure,” says Curry, adding once at the Emergency Department, “They did a quick EKG then I was right to the Cath Lab for the angioplasty.”

When a STEMI is suspected, responding EMS providers use the Web-based LIFENET® System to transmit to HOCC’s ED an electrocardiogram (EKG) reading that records a heart’s electrical activity. A physician immediately interprets the reading, potentially putting ED and cardiac catheterization unit staff members on alert just minutes before a patient’s arrival.

Once at the hospital, says Lundbye, there’s quick ED registration “which allows the patient to be quickly checked by the physician, their name is in the system and they go down to the cath lab without leaving the stretcher.”

“Everything was very fast,” recalls Curry, who describes the angioplasty, during which he was awake, as “a little uncomfortable” but without pain. He was in the Critical Care Unit until his discharge two days later. “Stepping outside was a very good thing,” Curry says of that Sunday.

Katsetos says Curry “did very well” with the procedure and has since been referred for cardiac rehabilitation at HOCC. “It’s important for everyone to know that a young person can have a heart attack and receive the best care out there and they can get better and go on with their lives,” Katsetos adds.

Looking back, Curry says he was surprised with the diagnosis, noting he’s young, but adding the experience “definitely makes you think, no question on that.”

Heart attack risk factors, says Katsetos, include smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and family history.

“I’d like to get healthier, lose a little weight,” Curry says, adding, “I did stop smoking.”

The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) is a 414-bed, 32-bassinet acute care teaching hospital with two campuses, New Britain General and Bradley Memorial in Southington. A member of Hartford HealthCare, HOCC services include emergency, inpatient, surgery, laboratory, outpatient, and radiology. Among specialty areas are cardiovascular care, metabolic health, obstetrics, oncology, orthopedics, and psychiatry/behavioral health. For more information, please visit; for a physician referral, call 1-800-321-6244.