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Pulse Check: A Day in the Life of our Research Nurses

Early on a recent Friday morning, the North Georgia Heart Foundation’s cardiac research nurses began their morning routine screening for potential study participants by reviewing hospital cardiac catheterization lab schedules and patients’ medical records.

Donna Patrick, RN, the department’s manager, along with Janita Mastin, RN, a cardiac research coordinator, identified a potential study participant who was scheduled for an electrophysiology procedure later that morning. The nurses quickly gathered study consent forms, cardiac devices and the study protocol before leaving their offices located in Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Wisteria building and making the short trek to the hospital’s Sam Jones Observational Unit.

With a warm and friendly welcome, Patrick and Mastin introduced themselves to the patient and asked if he had any interest in participating in cardiac research. He smiled at the nurses and agreed to learn more about the study. After the nurses reviewed the details and answered the patient’s questions, he consented to participate in the cardiac study.

“By participating in research trials, we have the opportunity to bring the newest medicines and devices available to North Georgia,” Patrick said. “But most importantly, our participation has the potential to impact the future of cardiovascular disease and keep the hearts of North Georgia healthy for a long time to come.”

Research getting results

The cardiac research component of the North Georgia Heart Foundation has supported cardiac research in the North Georgia area since 2014. Within this time the research team of cardiologists and nurses has participated in more than 30 clinical cardiac stent, device and drug studies sponsored by companies such as Abbott, Merck, Duke University, St. Jude Medical and Boston Scientific.

As a result of the trials conducted, the North Georgia community has benefited from carotid stenting, robotic angioplasty, MRI compatible pacemakers and new medications for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Recent results of studies that are being conducted locally are giving hope to patients in the region.

“The North Georgia Heart Foundation is a unique community-based foundation that has important goals that no one else is pursuing in this area,” said cardiologist and NGHF founder Jeffery Marshall, M.D. “We are seeing women with heart attacks in their mid 30s and men having heart attacks in their late 20s. It’s a scourge on our community, and we need to do the research and the teaching to provide hope for the future.”

Research conducted by NGHF has been in the headlines recently, as NGHF conducted the study for the newly approved cardiac bioabsorable scaffold which had been considered to be the future in coronary intervention.

As for the recent patient who agreed to participate in the study, he will be followed closely by the research team. His results and their documentation will help determine whether yet another device or procedure is able to gain approval and impact the cardiac health of patients both near and far.

“We believe that through community education and local research, both clinical and population-based, we have the ability to impact the heart health of our community by eradicating cardiovascular disease and improving outcomes,” added Daniel Thompson, MPH, executive director of NGHF. “If we can provide hope to just one person, family, mother, daughter, grandfather or friend, we have touched a life in our community in a way that cannot be measured.”

For more information about current cardiovascular clinical trials available, please contact 678-989-5001, or click here.