Heart attack victims offered new treatment in Carlisle

Image caption,
It is estimated 700 patients a year will benefit from the procedure

A new treatment for heart attack patients is to be made available in Carlisle.

Currently patients needing Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) have to go to hospitals in Newcastle, Blackpool and Middlesbrough.

But by May the procedure will be offered to around 700 patients a year at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary.

PCI works by using a balloon to open up blocked arteries in patients suffering the most severe form of heart attack.

Dr Peter Weaving, one of Cumbria's lead GPs, said: "The delivery of this new treatment in Cumbria will save more lives each year and cut journey time for many patients and families who currently have to travel for treatment outside the county."

Experts said PCI is clinically more effective than giving clot-busting drugs.

The procedure usually takes 30 minutes and involves making a small cut and inserting a balloon-tipped flexible tube in either the groin or wrist.

Martin Cowley, senior cardiologist at North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust, said: "When the tube reaches the narrowed part of the coronary artery, the cardiologist inflates the balloon.

"This squashes the fatty material on the inside walls of the blocked artery to widen it. This will be done several times before it is removed."

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