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State Awards $250,000 Grant to South Nassau for Expansion of its Center for Cardiovascular Health

South Nassau Communities Hospital has been awarded $250,000 in state funding to support a multi-phase expansion of the hospital’s Center for Cardiovascular Health. The funding is being provided by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York under its New York State Technology and Development Program (NYSTAD), and will support the construction of a new electrophysiology laboratory and procedure room within the center. The funding was secured with the assistance of New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos.

“The construction of new facilities for electrophysiology and arrhythmia services at the Center for Cardiovascular Health will help us fulfill our mission to provide Long Island’s South Shore communities with the standard-setting care for life-threatening cardiovascular conditions and diseases,” said Joseph A. Quagliata, President & CEO of South Nassau. “On behalf of the hospital and the patients we serve, I thank Senator Skelos and the Dormitory Authority for their support of our mission.”

Services to be provided in the new electrophysiology lab include diagnostic studies to determine the source of arrhythmia symptoms and to assess the need for implantable devices; treatment procedures, including implantation and testing of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators; cardiac re-synchronization therapy for treatment of chronic heart failure; and radio-frequency catheter ablation (a procedure that restores normal conduction of electrical impulses that regulate heart rhythms).

South Nassau opened the center in February 2008 in response to the increasing rate of cardiovascular disease in Nassau County, which is home to an aging population that includes the highest percentage of persons 65 years of age and older in New York State’s 14-county downstate region. By 2010, it was projected that nearly 46% of Nassau county’s population will be 45 years of age and older, and that 16.3% of the population will be over the age of 65. These are extraordinarily high percentages that serve as predictors of very high levels of need for advanced cardiac care services.

Presently 21,500 square-feet, the center houses two state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratories, eighteen patient preparatory and recovery stations, two nursing stations, a family waiting area, physician offices, examination rooms and all related support spaces. It is a 2009 and 2010 recipient of the prestigious Gold Performance Achievement Award in Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines™ (GWTG) program and its echocardiography lab is accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for Accreditation of Echocardiography (ICAEL). 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.

“We are committed to meeting the need for state-of-the-art, standard-setting cardiac care,” said Jason Freeman, MD. “What this commitment means to the residents of Nassau County is that they can count on South Nassau’s Center for Cardiovascular Health to provide them with the most advanced techniques and medical technologies to treat life-threatening diseases of the heart.”

The center 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.

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.

Cardiac imaging specialists at the center 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.

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