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Local Hospital Honored By National Cardiology Agency

Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory, a Duke LifePoint hospital, has been recognized by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) for demonstrating expertise and commitment in treating patients who come to a cardiac catheterization lab for care, including diagnostic catheterizations and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures. Frye Regional was awarded Cardiac Cath Lab Accreditation with PCI in August based on rigorous onsite evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who come to the cardiac cath lab.

According to cardiologist Dr. Norman McDonald, percutaneous coronary intervention is also known as coronary angioplasty. It 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.

Hospitals that have proven exceptional competency in treating patients who require cardiac catheterization have standardized their assessment process for patients before undergoing catheterization to ensure quality and patient safety. They ensure that care in the procedure room for sedation, infection control, radiation safety, universal protocol, and time out procedures is fully coordinated; and have mastered the appropriate transfer to a catheterization recovery unit to better monitor and track complications, enhance physician-to-patient communication, patient/family communication, discharge instructions and follow-up information.

Hospitals receiving Cardiac Cath Lab Accreditation with PCI from the ACC must take part in a multi-faceted clinical process that involves the following: completing a gap analysis; examining variances of care; developing an action plan; a rigorous onsite review; and monitoring for sustained success. Improved methods and strategies of caring for patients include streamlining processes, implementing guidelines and standards, and adopting best practices in the care of cath lab patients. Facilities that achieve accreditation meet or exceed an array of stringent criteria and have organized a team of doctors, nurses, clinicians, and other administrative staff that earnestly support the efforts leading to improved patient outcomes.

The ACC offers U.S. and international hospitals like Frye Regional access to a comprehensive suite of cardiac accreditation services designed to optimize patient outcomes and improve hospital financial performance. These services are focused on all aspects of cardiac care, including the cath lab.

Frye Regional’s cardiac catheterization team performs procedures using balloons, stents, and other devices to open blocked, or repair damaged blood vessels of the heart or body. This often avoids the need for surgery. More than 2,500 heart interventional heart procedures including diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterizations were performed at the Frye Regional Heart Center in 2021.

The Frye Regional Heart Center is the first Duke Health heart affiliate in western North Carolina. Backed by the resources of the Duke Heart Center, Frye Regional gains access to Duke training and staff education, evidence-based guidelines and practices when it comes to heart and heart-related issues.

For more information or a referral to a heart specialist, call 828-315-3391 or visit

[News release from Frye Regional Medical Center]