LIMA — Twenty years ago, patients needing advanced heart care in the Lima area typically had to make a long trip to receive treatment.
Today, that same care can be extended by making a short trip to Lima Memorial Health System.
The hospital held a reception in the hospital cafeteria Friday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the comprehensive heart care unit at the hospital.
In 1997, the first year of the unit, they expected to do about 200 surgeries. In actuality, about 340 surgeries were performed. Now, patients from a 10-county area go to LMH to have cardiac surgeries, catheterization procedures and angioplasties without being referred to areas such as Dayton, Cleveland or Columbus.
Ronald Pohl, a physician with the heart unit at LMH, said he has seen the care improve drastically. He has been with the unit since it first opened in 1997.
“There are better medicines, better devices and better technology,” Pohl said. “Surgeries are less invasive. “
Pohl said care at the unit will continue to improve with time. He said having the advanced care locally helps patients save money.
“We have hybrid procedures now where we can do angioplasty and surgery at the same time,” Pohl said. “With technology, procedures such as stenting or angioplasty have become less invasive. Twenty years from now, the care will be even less invasive.”
Pohl said one of the biggest changes in the field has been the attention put on smoking cigarettes. While the emphasis on not smoking has help keep the number of patients down, new problems are arising.
“Surgery is usually the end stage,” Pohl said. “You want to be preventative. I think we will now see more focus on diabetes and obesity. Kids are less active now. When I was a kid, we went outside and played softball or something else. Now, kids are less active, staying inside and playing with their phones or playing video games.”
Several former and current workers in the comprehensive heart care unit attended the reception. Pohl said it takes many good workers to make it successful.
“Surgeons are just a small part of it,” Pohl said. “You have nurses, family physicians and other personnel that are following up long after. They are a large part of this.”
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or on Twitter @LanceMihm