Why Edward ranks first in the Chicago area for heart attack survival. Read The Naperville Sun story.
Prevention factor in fewer heart attack deaths at Edward Hospital
August 4, 2010
By ADAM KINIGSON For Sun-Times Media
Death rates for Medicare patients who have suffered heart attacks have significantly declined in recent years, as Edward Hospital in Naperville certainly can attest: The hospital is ranked No. 1 in the Chicago area for lowest death rates in this category.
Edward has a lower death rate percentage among heart attack patients than the national average of 16.2 percent. Edward is nearly four percentage points lower, with a 12.5 percent death rate, according to www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.
Dr. Vincent Bufalino, a doctor for 30 years, medical director of cardiovascular services at Edward Hospital, and president and CEO of Midwest Heart Specialists, credits staff with the hospital's success.
"We have a focused delivery system. Every staff member eats, sleeps and dreams heart disease and heart attack prevention," Bufalino said. "We've been doing this a long time, and we want the quality of our services to be as good as it can be. Our system is very streamlined, from the initial response of the paramedics to the emergency room."
Because of thorough prevention procedures and quick responses, the nationwide death rate for heart attack patients has declined since 2000. The American Heart Association set a 10-year goal to decrease heart disease by 25 percent. Within those 10 years, there has been more than a 30 percent decrease, and the goal is to decrease heart disease another 20 percent by 2020.
However, for this goal to reach fruition, doctors say people need to be responsible and take steps to lower their risk of heart disease.
"It's still a lifestyle disease, and people don't need us to change," Bufalino said. "Live healthy by eating right, exercising, don't smoke and pay attention to your diet. Do the kind of things that you don't need a doctor for."
While all of this is a first step toward lowering a person's risk of heart disease, Edward staff are adamant about early prevention and encourage people to get screened.
"We're out front when it comes to taking care of patients with heart conditions," Bufalino said. "We can help prevent the first cardiac event by doing early screening. The next part is secondary prevention. Basically, if you've had one heart attack, let's make sure you don't have another."
Its focus on prevention might be the reason Edward had zero deaths in 2009 for patients who suffered STEMI heart attacks, which, according to Bufalino, is the term doctors use for a full-blown heart attack.
Although the death rate has decreased, those with a family history of heart disease are still most at risk and should be proactive when it comes to prevention.
"It's clearly more important for people with a family history to be screened," Bufalino said. "I hear it all the time about people ignoring their family history. Simply put, if you're an individual under the age of 60, and you've had some sort of cardiac event, get screened."
People unsure of their risk level can take a five-minute risk-assessment quiz at www.edward.org/heartaware.
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services