Hamilton Medical Center has been selected as one of many Georgia hospitals to participate in a national program that will allow hospitals without an open-heart surgery program to perform angioplasty for its patients.

While clot-dissolving drugs are good, acute angioplasty has been shown to be a superior treatment option for heart attack patients. Angioplasty is a procedure that uses insertion of a special balloon to open blocked arteries in the heart.

A heart attack, called myocardial infarction, occurs when an area of heart muscle dies or is permanently damaged because of an inadequate supply of oxygen to that area.

Angioplasty, which is not considered surgery, has been proven to be safely performed on heart attack victims at well-equipped hospitals without cardiac surgery departments.