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ROSEVILLE ย– Sutter Roseville Medical Center has been designated a regional Heart Attack Center, allowing emergency medical technicians to bypass other hospitals if a patient in South Placer and neighboring counties is having a severe heart attack and is in need of emergency angioplasty or stenting.

As a designated STEMI Receiving Center, Sutter Roseville Medical Center has been deemed by the Sierra-Sacramento Valley Emergency Medical Services Agency to be uniquely qualified to treat STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction) heart attacks, caused by a clot in one or more of the coronary arteries. The designation will be effective beginning Tuesday, March 23.

The Heart Attack Center protocol will work similarly to the regional system of trauma centers. In the past, patients who exhibit any heart-attack symptoms are sent to the nearest hospital, even if that medical center cannot perform emergent angioplasty and stenting.

Under the new protocol, when a person within 30 minutes of Sutter Roseville Medical Center exhibits heart attack symptoms and calls 911, EMTs will perform an electrocardiogram on the scene and, if the patient is assessed to be in STEMI, the ambulance would be diverted directly to the Sutter Roseville Medical Center Emergency Department for an emergent interventional treatment. Patients in neighboring counties may also be diverted to Sutter Roseville if the EMTs can make it to the hospital within 30 minutes.

‘By being a designated heart attack center, STEMI heart attack patients will be rushed to the hospital where they have the best prospect of surviving a heart attack and experiencing less damage to the heart,’ said Dr. George Fehrenbacher, Medical Director of Cardiology Services at Sutter Roseville. ‘You want to give the patient the best chance possible.’

The key component of an active STEMI Center is primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), otherwise known as angioplasty. The goal of the procedure is to quickly restore blood flow to the heart muscle within 90 minutes of the patient’s arrival at a designated receiving hospital.

‘For patients suffering a STEMI heart attack, a lifesaving trip to a 24-hour STEMI center for urgent intervention could mean the difference between life and death,’ said Troy Falck, M.D., Medical Director of the S-SV EMS. ‘This designation will give South Placer communities access to a designated center that can respond quickly with expert personnel and the latest technology after a heart attack.’

Sutter Roseville Medical Center has been South Placer County’s leader in treating cardiac emergencies and urgent intervention for years. In 2009, Dr. Fehrenbacher and his interventional cardiology team at Sutter Roseville performed 150 therapeutic catheterization procedures ย– such as angioplasty and stenting ย– on STEMI and other heart attack patients, and Dr. Fehrenbacher has a lifetime experience of more than 4,000 PCI procedures. Its team of primary PCI experts and its emergency STEMI services are fully operational 24 hours a day all year long.

In addition, Sutter Roseville Medical Center is gearing up to become the first hospital in South Placer County to place a tiny heart pump called the Abiomed Impella 2.5, percutaneous left ventricular assist device (LVAD) that can be a lifesaver for a patient whose heart is failing or is in shock. This LVAD will be placed through a catheterization procedure and will keep the heart pumping while the interventional cardiologists work to restore the heart. Abiomed recently received FDA approval on the device, which is also being used at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento.

Sutter Roseville Medical Center is affiliated with Sutter Health, a not-for-profit, community-based health system located throughout Northern California. For more information on Sutter Roseville Medical Center, visit the Web site at

*Press Release