Heart stent patients get same-day discharge

3:56 PM, Mar 12, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- One of the most popular procedures for heart patients is becoming a same-day surgery.

10 years ago having a stent procedure for a closed artery meant five days in the hospital. Now, it's less than eight hours for most patients undergoing an elective stenting procedure.

"Hospitals are not places you want to be if you don't need to be there," says Dr. David Wohns, Medical Director of Interventional Cardiology at Spectrum Health.

Dr. Wohns says one of reasons why heart stenting is becoming a same-day procedure is because of the use of the wrist instead of the leg as a point of entry.

"If it's done from the leg there's a long period of bed rest, so it makes everything take longer. If it's done from the arm, people can get right up afterwards and walk around very quickly and it's easier to get them home safely the same day," says Dr. Wohns.

And sometimes within hours. Elective heart stent patient Debra Wade came in at 7:15 a.m. and by 1:15 p.m. she was ready to go home. That is a big difference from her first procedure in 2003.

"The first time I had depression and anxiety a lot more. And for some reason I was just like I want to go back home if I can please," says Wade.

And with approval from her doctor, Debra is on her way.

But there's another reason why same-day discharge is becoming popular: It saves money.

"There are savings associated with that and those are important as we look at our emerging health care costs, but before we pushed this at all we wanted to make sure it was safe for our patients," says Dr. Wohns.

About 35-40% of elective heart stent patients at Spectrum Health leave the same day.

For Debra it makes a big difference, "I think it takes a little bit of the anxiety out of the procedure it makes you feel a little more confident about jumping back into every day life sooner."

Same-day discharge for heart stent patients is a standard practice in Europe and Canada. Michigan's rate of same day discharge varies across the state.

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