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South Nassau Receives $306,549 in Federal Funding for Center for Cardiovascular Health Expansion

South Nassau Communities Hospital has been awarded $306,549 in federal funding to support the purchase of equipment for its recently-opened Center for Cardiovascular Health. Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, who spearheaded the efforts to secure the funding for the project, visited the hospital recently to tour the Center.

“South Nassau Communities Hospital is one of Long Island’s premier healthcare providers, consistently innovating and offering the most cutting-edge, state-of-the-art medical technologies administered by some of the most skilled healthcare professionals in the region,” said Congresswoman McCarthy. “I am pleased to have been instrumental in helping South Nassau acquire the necessary funding to improve its Center for Cardiovascular Health. As a result of this grant, South Nassau will be able to continue to improve on its tradition of providing top-notch healthcare for our region, specifically Nassau County’s South Shore.”

The Center for Cardiovascular Health is the cornerstone of South Nassau’s cardiac care initiative to meet the pressing need for advanced, interventional cardiology services in Nassau County, where the impact of cardiovascular disease grows by the day as the population ages.

Approximately 41% of all deaths in Nassau County are attributable to some form of heart disease. Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and stroke, are the leading causes of death in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, one in three adults has some form of cardiovascular disease.

“We are determined to ensure that the communities and the patients we serve have convenient access to standard-setting, patient-centered interventional cardiology treatments and care for cardiovascular disease,” said Joseph A. Quagliata, South Nassau’s President and CEO. “We understand that teamwork is essential to achieving that objective. On behalf of the South Nassau family, I thank Congresswoman McCarthy for leading the way in securing this generous grant and for her ardent support of the South Nassau mission of ‘Touching Lives One Patient at a Time.’”

Located on the east side of the Hospital’s first floor, the 21,000 square-foot Center includes two state-of-the-art digital cardiac catheterization rooms, 18 dedicated preparation/ recovery spaces, decentralized nursing stations, doctor’s offices, examination rooms, family waiting areas and conference rooms. It is equipped with the latest advancements in digital imaging systems to perform a wide range of coronary and peripheral interventional procedures, including balloon angioplasty, stenting, and thrombolytic therapy.

The next phase of the expansion to the Center is scheduled to begin in 2009 and will increase the Center’s size to approximately 32,000 square feet. Expansion plans call for the construction of an electrophysiology laboratory and a minor procedure room.

“The Center is focused on providing peerless, patient-centered treatments and technology, so that the residents of the South Shore of Nassau County do not have to travel outside the region to access expert interventional cardiology care when they need it,” said Jason Freeman, MD, Director of South Nassau’s Interventional Cardiology Program.

Coronary angioplasty is necessary when medications or lifestyle changes aren't enough to reduce the effects of the blockage or blockages in the arteries. The procedure widens (dilates) blocked arteries, which can help prevent further life-threatening complications. Angioplasty is usually combined with implantation of a stent in the clogged artery to help prop it open and decrease the chance of re-blockage, called restenosis.

South Nassau has been in the vanguard of interventional cardiology. It is one of just seven hospitals in New York without an open-heart surgical program that is approved to perform elective angioplasty by the state’s Department of Health. On Monday, October 16, 2006, South Nassau performed an elective coronary angioplasty, marking the first time in the history of Nassau County that a hospital without an open-heart surgery program successfully completed the procedure in a non-emergency. Until that day, elective (or non-emergency) coronary angioplasty was provided only at hospitals with full cardiac surgical programs.

In July of 2006, the New York State Department of Health announced that South Nassau had been selected to participate in a statewide pilot program that allowed selected hospitals without open-heart surgical programs to perform elective angioplasty. At the time, South Nassau was the first and only community hospital in Nassau County (and one of only five in New York State) permitted to perform angioplasty on an elective or non-emergency basis.

For nearly six years before launching the elective coronary angioplasty program, South Nassau was demonstrating that it could perform coronary angioplasty safely. It had performed hundreds of angioplasties in an emergency through its participation in C-PORT (Cardiovascular Patient Outcomes Research Team), a Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System study. C-PORT ultimately proved what South Nassau had known for a long time: that a hospital such as South Nassau with the expert physicians, specially trained staff and medical technologies can perform coronary angioplasty in an emergency or as an elective procedure as safely and effectively as any hospital that has an open heart surgery program.

South Nassau's cardiac catheterization program has successfully performed more than 15,000 procedures since it was established in 1988. It is recognized for developing and implementing new patient-focused, cost-effective diagnostic technologies and services. For example, it was one of the first hospitals on Long Island to provide transradial angiography, a minimally invasive, innovative procedure, which is used for coronary investigation and intervention.

The Center’s comprehensive program of cardiovascular care includes electrophysiology and arrhythmia services as well as cardiac imaging. Under the direction of Lawrence Kanner, MD, Director of Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Services, the Center’s staff of electrophysiologists have in-depth experience and training and use advanced technologies to provide timely, accurate diagnoses and therapies to treat the range of cardiac arrhythmias, abnormal heart rhythms, and defibrillator complications. Services include diagnostic studies, implantation and testing of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, and radio-frequency catheter ablation for the treatment of potentially fatal irregular heartbeats.

The cardiac imaging techniques and technologies used at the Center produce clear, highly defined pictures and views of the heart that are used by the cardiologists to develop and perform patient-centered, precise treatment plans. Frank Pollaro, MD, FACC, Director of Cardiovascular Imaging, and the Center’s cardiac imaging specialists are well-versed in nuclear cardiology (which generates images of the heart at work, during exercise, and at rest), echocardiogram via the trans-thoracic method (a non-invasive, highly accurate and quick assessment of the overall health of the heart in which a probe is placed on the chest wall of the patient to produce images of the heart), and transesophageal echocardiogram (which uses a specialized probe containing an ultrasound transducer at its tip that is passed into the esophagus and is used to provide clear views of areas of the heart that would be difficult to view transthoracicly).

The Center’s cardiac imaging services will soon expand to include stress echocardiogram (which involves exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle while the patient is monitored by technology uses high-frequency sound waves that produces a graphic outline of the heart's movement, valves, and chambers) and diagnostic peripheral vascular ultrasound (noninvasive diagnostic technique used to evaluate the health of blood vessels) for patients with peripheral arterial disease.

The Center is expanding its electrophysiology laboratory to meet the region’s increasing need for electrophysiology and cardiac arrhythmia services. When the expansion is completed, South Shore residents will have convenient access to the specialists and most advanced medical technologies available for the treatment of heart rhythm abnormalities.

For more information about the Center for Cardiovascular Health, call 1-877-South-Nassau.

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