Eastside performs first angioplasty procedure

SNELLVILLE -- Sixteen months ago, Gwinnett County didn't have any hospitals that offered cardiac procedures like angioplasty and stenting. Now it has two.

Linda Poston, a 72-year-old Loganville woman, became the first-ever percutaneous coronary intervention (or PCI) patient at Eastside Medical Center Wednesday. Poston was on the phone with her granddaughter when she started having symptoms of a heart attack.

Her granddaughter, who normally works in Lilburn, was in the Snellville area and able to take Poston to Eastside at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. The procedure was performed by Dr. David E. Kandzari shortly after that.

"The people down there were absolutely wonderful," Poston said. "They were so professional. There was no panic. They just did a terrific job."

Poston -- who said she's survived colon cancer, lung cancer and two strokes in her lifetime -- was still in the hospital Thursday but said she was feeling great and "ready to go home." She had no idea she was the first cardiac patient of her kind at Eastside.

"You tell anybody that wants to know, come to Eastside," Poston said.

Eastside's PCI program became official on Tuesday. The Snellville hospital announced in March its plans to offer the procedures through an exclusivity agreement with Piedmont Heart Institute. Piedmont doctors now account for all cardiac services -- interventional or otherwise -- at Eastside, a move that rankled some local cardiologists.

Gwinnett Medical Center began offering PCIs in early 2011 in preparation for its full open heart program, which began seeing patients in January.