Building Your High-risk PCI Practice

December 3, 2019

The Vital Role of the Nurse Coordinator

George Jabbour, MD discusses the vital role of the high-risk PCI nurse coordinator in his practice. Dr. Jabbour is an interventional cardiologist with UPMC Altoona-Blair Medical Associates.

Dr. Jabbour explains how his vision for being able to treat very sick patients rather than sending them out to tertiary care centers led to creating an advanced protected PCI program. “In the process of championing the program,” he tells interviewer Dr. George Vetrovec, “we saw a lot of work that needed to be done. As a physician, I found it almost impossible to take on that role on my own and then I immediately saw the need and the benefit from having a protected PCI coordinator.”

“The coordinator is the most important person within the structure of the protected PCI program,” Dr. Jabbour states. He explains that the coordinator is familiar with the program’s treatment algorithms and spreads the message to physicians as well as patients. The coordinator finds patients who could be good candidates, collects data on the patients, communicates with the patients and their families as well as their physicians, and follows up with patients after procedures. In this way, he feels that the coordinator fills the gaps that he cannot fill due to his busy cath lab schedule.

Dr. Jabbour explains that the coordinator has helped him build his practice. On average, he now sees about 10 patients a month who could be good candidates for high-risk PCI. These patients come to him for a second opinion as a direct result of his coordinator’s efforts.

Dr. Jabbour also emphasizes the importance of having a heart team, which his coordinator helped create. “The heart team is one of the most crucial steps in establishing a high-risk PCI program,” he explains. The heart team, which meets regularly at least once a month, involves interventional cardiologists, heart failure specialists, cardiothoracic surgeons, electrophysiologists, as well as cardiac catheterization lab staff and the high-risk PCI coordinator. With all these people at the table at one time, the heart team helps establish a consensus for cases previously deemed to be too high risk, too complex, or untreatable. Through their discussions, they envision ways of treating patients differently through surgical intervention or high-risk PCI.

“I think without the nurse coordinator, the program is not going to be able to thrive,” Dr. Jabbour concludes. He tells Dr. Vetrovec as a physician he can do the cases, but he cannot ensure the success of the program without the communication and logistical efforts of the coordinator. In addition, he credits the coordinator with helping to increase the volume in his practice through continuous teaching efforts on the floors, in offices, and in clinics.

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To learn more about the Impella® platform of heart pumps, including important risk and safety information associated with the use of the devices, please visit: www.protectedpci.com/indications-use-safety-information/

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