Cardiac center launches at E. Meadow hospital

Exterior view of Nassau University Medical Center in Exterior view of Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. (Aug. 13, 2008) Photo Credit: Newsday file / Jim Peppler

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A heart center aimed at people with complex cardiac disorders has opened at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.

The center is focused on heart failure and heart rhythm disorders, and its opening marks a significant technology upgrade in NUMC's cardiac services.

Heart failure, which has reached epidemic proportions nationwide, is a condition characterized by the organ's inability to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Patients in advanced stages may require a transplant.

Although heart transplants will not be performed at NUMC, patients awaiting an organ can undergo "bridge-to-transplant" care, receiving medications that will temporarily help them maintain heart function. Heart rhythm disorders can lead to the implantation of a pacemaker or defibrillator to syncopate the heart.

The new facility, located on the medical center's second floor, was announced during a public seminar on heart disease in women.

"We are providing cardiac services, implanting pacemakers and defibrillators regardless of whether a patient has insurance or not," said Dr. Sanjay Doddamani, NUMC's chairman of cardiology.

"They can walk into the door and get state-of-the-art care. We are not looking in their wallet to see what kind of card they carry. We just want to provide them with the best heart care," he said.

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NUMC's chief medical officer, Dr. Steven Walerstein, and heart patient Diane McCloud, 47, of Hempstead cut the ribbon officially opening the heart center Friday morning.

McCloud was released last month from a 15-month petty larceny sentence at the Nassau jail because of end-stage heart failure and is in need of a heart transplant.

NUMC spokeswoman Shelley Lotenberg said McCloud has been approved for Medicaid.

McCloud's doctors at NUMC have placed her on milrinone, a drug for congestive heart failure. The medication, Doddamani said, helps her heart contract.

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