EAST GLENDALE — For many newer physicians, a heart stent operation is a challenge, doctors at Glendale Adventist Medical Center said.
Installing a stent opens arteries to maximize blood flow, and on this particular patient on Friday, the interventional cardiologist, Hugo Riffel-Dalinger, was operating on arteries that were 2 millimeters wide, and among the cardiovascular system's most important, he said.
"That's what keeps us going," he said, pointing to the beating heart on a computer monitor. "The heart is an engine … and our job is to keep the injectors clean."
Of 5,800 hospitals, Glendale Adventist has recently joined 400 centers as a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care, a distinction from Blue Shield of California designed for operating rooms known for comprehensive and quality care, officials said.
For hospital staff, it's a status that celebrates a high volume of quality care, said Robert Marchuk, vice president of ancillary services at Glendale Adventist.
"It's a great honor for us; Blue Cross/Blue Shield is one of the bigger players out there," he said. "It sets a precedent."
The hospital had to meet six criteria for the honor, which range from a minimum number of operations to the experience of its cardiac physicians.
"It's quite a process," said Alicia Gonzalez, a hospital spokeswoman.
The hospital's Heart & Vascular Institute does everything but transplants. It's a 24/7 operation that's equipped for heart surgery, angioplasty, neurovascular procedures and more, Marchuk said.
"It really is full service, not just for the heart, but the whole body," he said.
Among the factors in considering the honor is the speed hospital staff can transport patients from the emergency room to the operating table. In a traumatic emergency, every elapsing minute is muscle tissue dying, so speed and precision is essential, officials said.
Ninety minutes of transportation is the sign of award-winning hospitals, but Glendale Adventist has hit the 60-minute goal.
But the Blue Distinction honor is more than just about speed, Marchuk said.
"It's not just treating the patient when they hit the door, but what happens to them after," he said.