Local Hospitals Get Low Grade

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Leslie Billow says she had one reaction when firefighters told her she was having a heart attack.

"Not me, I could be anybody but me, so I couldn't believe that. So it was a total shock."

She described her heart attack to us more then a year ago. It happened back in 2004. A new study out this month says at the time Leslie had her heart attack, Northern Nevada hospitals with open heart programs were performing worse than expected when it came to women surviving a heart attack or stroke.

Gayle Hurd, Renown best practices administrator says, " This data is relatively old, two to five years old since then here we have implemented several things to specifically address women's cardiac health."

The survey looked at mortality rates at hospitals when women underwent coronary bypass surgery, valve replacement, angioplasty or stent procedure, heart attack, heart failure and stroke. Both Renown and St. Mary's Hospital received ratings of "worse than expected" when it came to surviving those procedures.

While St. Mary's said it needed to examine the data before commenting on the study, Renown said it has made improvements to hospital care since 2005.

Cardiologist Dr. Richard Bryan who practices at both hospitals says he's seen improvements in cardiac care at both hospitals, and the study should not discourage women from seeking help.

"We don't want women who are having active symptoms to drive over the hill to Sacramento or other hospital. Cardiac care here is excellent they need to see their physicians if they have symptoms and get it checked out."

The survey did take into account other health problems women may have had at the time of their hospitalization. Called co-morbidity they include age, high blood pressure, kidney failure, and diabetes.

Five hospitals in Southern Nevada received a performance rating of "as expected." That places them in the middle 70% of all hospitals rated.