Loyola hospital to staff cardiologists 24/7

March 3, 2009 1:41:47 PM PST
When it comes to heart attacks, opening the clogged arteries as quickly as possible is key. That's why Loyola University Medical Center says it will begin staffing cardiologists around the clock. Loyola announced Tuesday that it will be the first hospital in Illinois to staff a heart attack rapid response team at the hospital 24 hours, seven days a week. It all starts with the ambulance team that is initially sent out.

"We will be doing the same for heart attacks as we have been doing for trauma and that's having the team waiting as the patient arrives to take them to the cath lab, dilating the vessels of the heart so that we can stop the process that's currently occurring," said Dr. Mark Cichon, Loyola University Medical Center.

Doctors say the inner core of the heart starts dying within about 20 minutes of a heart attack.

The new policy goes into effect April 2 and is going to cost Loyola about $2 million a year.