McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Joon Sup Lee, M.D., clinical director of the UPMC Cardiovascular Institute and associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has been named a co-investigator of the Atlantic Cardiovascular Patient Outcomes Research Team (C-PORT) Clinical Trial. C-PORT is a group of cardiovascular specialists including physicians and nurses, clinical trial specialists, healthcare economists, quality-of-life researchers, hospital administrators, and government healthcare regulators who have designed and implemented a clinical trial comparing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with thrombolytic therapy for patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) who present to community hospitals. UPMC McKeesport has been designated a site for this clinical trial to determine if there are differences in the outcome of PCI, also known as angioplasty, when performed in hospitals that do not offer cardiac surgery versus hospitals with heart surgery capabilities.
At one time, PCI - the widening of a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel using a balloon and stent - could be performed only in hospitals with open heart surgery capabilities. However, the significant decline in need for emergency cardiac surgery following PCI has led to performance of elective PCI in facilities without cardiac surgical backup.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has granted UPMC McKeesport a waiver to perform elective PCI based on the hospital’s participation in the Atlantic C-PORT. The study is being conducted in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and the Economics and Quality of Life Coordinating Center at Duke University. Potential candidates for the study are patients requiring a diagnostic cardiac catheterization because of suspected blockages in the coronary arteries that can be treated with PCI.
“C-PORT allows smaller, high-quality community hospitals such as UPMC McKeesport to provide advanced catheter-based therapies, including coronary angioplasty and stenting, to its patients locally,” said Dr. Lee. “The focus of this study is to help determine if PCI success and complication rates are the same at hospitals with and without cardiac surgery capabilities. If the trial determines that these rates are the same for both types of facilities, it could greatly impact the future of cardiac care at smaller community hospitals.”
Study participants will be randomly assigned to receive PCI treatment at UPMC McKeesport or be transferred to UPMC Mercy or UPMC Shadyside - hospitals with heart surgery capabilities - for the procedure. After the PCI, participants will proceed with the follow-up care that their doctors would normally provide, regardless of where their procedures were performed.
Nationally, more than 18,300 participants will be recruited.