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New Center Answers Region’s Rising Need for Interventional Cardiology Care

South Nassau Communities Hospital truly made Valentine’s Day about the heart, holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony February 14 to formally open the hospital’s new Center for Cardiovascular Health. The Center 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, President & CEO. “Angioplasty, electrophysiology and cardiac catheterization are interventions that have proven to be highly effective in diagnosing, preventing and treating heart disease and reducing the risk for heart attack. We know that prescribing these treatments when it is necessary will improve the quality of life of the patients we serve.”

Located on the east side of the first floor of the Hospital, 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 cardiovascular and interventional imaging systems to perform carotid stenting, vascular and interventional procedures and a wide range of peripheral procedures, including balloon angioplasty and thrombolytic therapy.

Future expansion to the Center is planned that will increase its size to approximately 32,000 square feet and calls for the construction of a third cardiac catheterization laboratory, an electrophysiology laboratory and a minor procedure room.

“As with all other advanced health care services that South Nassau has introduced, the South Shore communities can expect the Center to provide peerless, patient-centered interventional cardiology care for those who need it, when they need it,” said Jason Freeman, MD, Director, Interventional Cardiology Program. “The overall patient experience in terms of safety, outcome, comfort and convenience will be unrivaled.”

In the most recent New York State Department of Health statistics for (percutaneous) coronary interventions, Dr. Freeman was one of only 3 interventional cardiologists in the entire state to achieve the “double asterisk” status, an unparalleled standard of patient outcomes in the field of Interventional Cardiology. The status confirms that Dr. Freeman has a significantly lower rate of mortality than the state-wide average.

In addition to Dr. Freeman, South Nassau’s team of interventional cardiologists include Jerome Zisfein, MD, Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, and Lawrence Kanner, MD, Director of Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Services. The team has successfully performed thousands of angioplasties, has more than 50 years combined experience and is supported and complemented by specially trained nurses and technicians.

South Nassau has been in the vanguard of interventional cardiology. 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. 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. In this procedure, a catheter is inserted into an artery in the wrist, reducing bleeding and shortening recovery time. In addition, it was the first on Long Island to employ solid-state image cameras for many diagnostic procedures.

The Electrophysiology Lab specializes in patient-centered, state-of-the-art cardiac care technology and procedures, such as pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators (ICD) as well as a 3-D imaging diagnostic system to treat and cure potentially fatal irregular heartbeats. The Lab was the first on Long Island to use a revolutionary 3-D imaging diagnostic system that combines the power of advanced cardiac mapping technology with computer imaging and programming to produce real-time, virtual images of the electrical activity within the heart. South Nassau’s electrophysiologists handle everything from emergency arrhythmias to defibrillator complications.

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

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