he first non-surgical stent procedure ever in the City of Porterville was recently performed at Sierra View Medical Center.

Sierra View was able to perform the procedure after receiving the Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) designation from the California Department of Public Health. After much anticipation of earning the PCI designation, invaluable cardiac procedures are now locally available with state-of-the-art equipment at the SVMC Cardiac Cath Lab.

On July 7, the SVMC Cardiac Cath Lab Team and Interventional Cardiologist, Dr. Bindusagar Reddy, MD, performed the first PCI coronary stent procedure on Porterville resident Douglas Gable in order to restore blood flow to a clogged artery that was causing considerable chest pain and serious complications. Even though Reddy had performed thousands of procedures, he said he had been waiting years for this day to come.

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention also known as coronary angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure that opens narrowed or blocked coronary arteries with a balloon to relieve symptoms of heart disease or reduce heart damage during or after a heart attack.

The accreditation to perform the procedure is based on rigorous onsite evaluation of the ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients experiencing chest pain and heart attacks. To qualify for the PCI designation, a hospital must meet or exceed a wide set of stringent criteria. If these requirements are met, the CDPH conducts an on-site evaluation in which SVMC Cath Lab passed with flying colors.

An organized team of physicians, nurses, clinicians, and other administrative staff worked to gain the designation to treat patients experiencing heart attack symptoms or chest pains, much like the first stent patient at SVMC. Among those on the team is s local Cardiologist Specialist and SVMC Cardiac Cath Lab Medical Director, Dr. Ashok Behl, MD.

I came to Porterville in 1982 with hopes of having a Cath Lab with these services,” Behl said. Nearly 40 years later, in front of a monitor in a state-of-the-art facility displaying the center of a patient’s circulatory system, he humbly explained how happy he is the community no longer has to travel for Cardiac Cath Lab procedures.

I’m very pleased that we now have the capability to perform PCI procedures which will prevent out-patients from having to drive to Visalia or Bakersfield,” Behl said. “For in-patients, this will prevent them from having to be transferred by ambulance and will help save lives for those who have blockages and need immediate care.”

Our team is elated to have this service,” said Director of Cardiac Cath Lab and Interventional Radiology, Torri Lee, MSN/ED, RN. “Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death and with us being able to provide this service to our community means faster service and on the road to recovery without having to travel.”

At this time, the SVMC Cardiac Cath Lab can perform Cardiac Catheterizations where physicians including Dr. Ashok Behl, Dr. Bindusagar Reddy, and two other local cardiologists, Dr. Taya Thayapran and Dr. Ankur Gupta can perform minimally invasive tests and procedures for diagnostics, surgical clearance, PCI coronary stent placing, and pacemaker procedures.

Hospitals that have earned the PCI certification have proven have met high standards in treating patients with heart attack symptoms and have primary PCI available 24/7 every day of the year.

SVMC is proud to have earned the accreditation and views this  journey as a labor of love project,” the hospital stated.

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