Physician performs area's first angioplasty

JOHNS CREEK — Emory Johns Creek hospital is now performing emergency angioplasty, officials said.

Hospital CEO John Quinlivan said the hospital is proud to offer the state-of-the-art care for both those suffering from heart attack and the prevention of heart attack.

Dr. Gregory Robertson, hospital Cardiac Cath Lab medical director, said angioplasty is a procedure that opens clogged arteries and restores blood flow using tiny, balloon-type devices. Heart attacks occur when a major artery supplying blood to the heart becomes blocked, officials said, usually from plaque build-up.

Robertson has performed more than 8,000 interventional procedures in 24 years as a physician, officials said, and is considered a pioneer of emergency angioplasty.

Officials said anyone experiencing symptoms of heart attack should call 911 immediately. Symptoms include:

• Chest discomfort, usually in the center of the chest, lasting more than a few minutes or going away and returning. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

• Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

• Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

• Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.