Alberta Health Services is touting a new outpatient program, running out of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute – that uses minimally invasive treatments, and allows patients to return home on the same day.

AHS said the ASPIRE program uses a minimally invasive procedure to open narrowed arteries, and essentially eliminates the usual overnight stay in hospital for many of the patients.

The program is geared towards patients who are stable and have narrowing or blockages of blood supply to the heart – but their condition has not escalated to heart attacks yet.

Patients who meet the criteria and require percutaneous coronary intervention, a procedure that uses a catheter inserted through an artery in the arm or groin, and utilize a variety of devices to clear or open the artery, such as a balloon, cutting tool or stent.

After the procedure, patients are observed, and once the patient is given the all-clear, he or she can be sent home.

"Traditionally, patients were watched overnight," Nurse Practitioner Lori Savard said. "Research shows that in select populations, if we watch them for 4 to 6 hours, and they show no issues, they are safe to go home."mazank

ASPIRE was piloted last year at the Mazankowski, so far, 70 patients have been helped – and up to 10 new patients are seen as part of the program each month.