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4 LI hospitals get cardiac catheterization lab approvals

Cardiovascular technologist Christine Brooks, left, and Dr. Stanley

Cardiovascular technologist Christine Brooks, left, and Dr. Stanley Katz, chairman of cardiology at Peconic Bay Medical Center Northwell Health in Riverhead, use a mannequin to demonstrate how a procedure is done in the catheterization lab in 2017. Credit: Randee Daddona

Four Long Island hospitals received approval this month from the New York State Health and Health Planning Council to establish cardiac catheterization labs.

Northwell's John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson and Plainview Hospital, along with Catholic Health Services' St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage and Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, received the approvals. 

Cath labs specialize in using X-ray guided catheters to help open blockages in coronary arteries or repair the heart in minimally invasive procedures — ranging from stenting to angioplasty and bypass surgery — that are less traumatic to the body and speed recovery.

The expansion at Mercy "will enhance the existing diagnostic catheterization and electrophysiology program and will offer immediate cardiac care to patients presenting at the hospital with a heart attack or significant cardiac issue, instead of transferring patients to St. Francis Hospital for higher level services," said Peter Scaminaci, president at St. Joseph and Mercy. 

The Department of Health, citing increased demand along with advances in technology and safety, requires the new labs to perform a minimum of 36 percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) a year, according to Northwell.

Lenox Health Greenwich Village and Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, both Northwell facilities, also received approval for catheterization labs.

“With the investment in these four new PCI programs, we are able to advance our mission of improving access, as well as bringing high quality complex cardiovascular services to our patients in their local communities,” said William O’Connell, executive director of cardiology services at Northwell Health.

Interventional cardiology programs at Northwell performed nearly 22,000 diagnostic catheterizations and another 8,500 PCIs in 2019, led by the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. 

Northwell said its latest investment in cardio care includes Mather Hospital’s $11.4 million, 3,644-square-foot addition, which will have catheterization and electrophysiology labs.

Also, Plainview Hospital will construct two labs in an expansion of services as part of a $19 million, 8,105-square-foot project.

Statistics show that 735,000 Americans suffer a heart attack annually and about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year.

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