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South Nassau Earns Prestigious Award for Excellence in Heart Disease Care
The Intersocietal Commission for Accreditation of Echocardiography (ICAEL) recently awarded accreditation to the echocardiography lab at South Nassau Communities Hospital’s Center for Cardiovascular Health.
The prestigious accreditation is awarded in recognition of a commitment to quality testing for the diagnosis of heart disease and is based on the quality and critical elements of the echocardiography laboratory. It is the first time that South Nassau has earned the prestigious accreditation.
Frank Pollaro, MD, FACC, director of non-invasive cardiology, said, “Accreditation demonstrates that every day we fulfill our goal of providing standard-setting care and services in echocardiography. The accreditation is a result of teamwork and the hospital’s commitment to service excellence.”
The ICAEL was established with the support of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE), the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the Society of Pediatric Echocardiography (SOPE) to provide a peer review mechanism to encourage and recognize the provision of quality echocardiographic diagnostic evaluations. Participation in the accreditation process is voluntary.
The ICAEL accreditation follows the recent announcement that South Nassau Communities was one of just two hospitals on Long Island to earn a Gold Performance Achievement Award in Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The GuidelinesSM program.
The announcement marked the third consecutive year that South Nassau has been recognized by the program for achieving high standards in the treatment of CAD. The program awarded South Nassau a Silver Award in 2008 and Bronze Award in 2007.
The GWTG program is a quality-improvement program that helps hospitals provide cardiac and stroke care in accordance with the most up-to-date guidelines and recommendations. Hospitals that continually meet or exceed the nationally accepted standards, or guidelines, improve their quality patient care by turning guidelines into “lifelines”. Upon meeting specific criteria, hospitals are recognized for performance achievement if at least 85 percent of their cardiac or stroke patients are treated and discharged according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s guidelines and recommendations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the age-adjusted rate of deaths attributed to heart disease is down 25.8 percent since 1999. The American Heart Association says that the main factors that have helped reduce the rate of deaths caused by heart disease include the establishment of guidelines for the treatment and prevention of heart attacks; improvements in medications and in technology; and the timely delivery of appropriate treatments, such as angioplasty or thrombolysis to open blocked coronary arteries.
South Nassau’s Center for Cardiovascular Health is built on those factors. The center treats patients with the combination of advanced technologies and best practices and is equipped with the latest advancements in cardiac digital imaging systems. It performs a wide range of coronary and peripheral interventional procedures, including balloon angioplasty, stenting, and thrombolytic therapy. When providing balloon angioplasty in an emergency, the center consistently achieves a door-to-balloon-time of approximately 70 minutes, which is 20 minutes faster than the medically recommended door-to-balloon time benchmark of 90 minutes.
“We established the center to meet the pressing need for advanced interventional cardiology services in Nassau County, where the impact of cardiovascular disease grows by the day,” said Jason Freeman, MD, FACC, director of interventional cardiology.
Lawrence Kanner, MD, FACC, director of electrophysiology and arrhythmia services, and the Center’s staff of electrophysiologists 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.
Dr. Pollaro 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 transthoracically).
The Center’s cardiac imaging services also include stress echocardiogram (which involves exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle while the patient is monitored by technology using 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.
“In the event you, a loved one or friend need expert, advanced, potentially life-saving cardiac care, you need look no further than your own neighborhood,” said Dr. Freeman. “Our team of experienced cardiologists and specially trained nursing staff use the most advanced techniques and medical technologies to treat life-threatening diseases of the heart 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”