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St. Mary Announces Major Expansion in Cardiology Capabilities

With a $30 million investment, two new, state-of-the-art cardiac

catheterization labs open in 2008 to serve the community

LANGHORNE, Pa., April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- St. Mary Medical Center today announced that it will expand its cardiology services by adding two new, state-of-the-art procedure rooms to its cardiac catheterization labs (cath labs). Currently home to three procedure rooms, St. Mary will invest more than $30 million to make this upgrade to meet the growing healthcare needs of the community. To date, nearly 35,000 procedures (nearly 4,000 procedures annually) have been performed in the cath labs, making the St. Mary cardiology team one of the region's most experienced. Since the cath labs were last expanded in 1999, the service has experienced a greater than 88 percent increase in patient volume.

"The cardiac team at St. Mary has performed many catheterizations and those numbers are expected to increase," notes Director of Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories Dr. Ronald Fields. "With that being said, experience only goes so far. By adding these new procedure rooms St. Mary is equipping us with the tools we need to complement our collective experience."

Since the addition of a third procedure room in 1999, the St. Mary Medical Center cath labs have experienced more than an 88 percent increase in patient volume. In addition, 93 percent of adults living in Bucks County have at least one cardiac risk factor, suggesting that patient volume will continue to grow in the coming years. To keep pace with this increase in procedures, St. Mary is initiating a multiyear refurbishment of its cardiac catheterization capabilities. In addition to increasing the availability of time slots in the lab that leads to shorter wait times for procedures, the expansion efforts allow St. Mary to expand its technological offerings.

"We have a talented staff at St. Mary Medical Center, and the availability of state-of-the-art facilities and the most updated technology definitely play a role in our ability to perform the most complex cardiac procedures," says Chief of Cardiology Dr. Richard Leshner. "The new procedure rooms allow us to cater to the aging population throughout the region that has come to depend on us to have the very best," Leshner added.

The cath lab initiative begins in 2008 and occurs in two phases. As a part of phase one, two new, state-of-the-art cardiac cath labs will be built on the second floor of the Medical Center in the Outpatient Care Facility near the Cardiovascular Care Unit. In a second phase, two additional cath labs and more than 20 private patient rooms will be built nearby. At the end of the project, St. Mary will have a total of four new, state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs. The St. Mary Medical Center Foundation received a $1 million grant from the County of Bucks Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to support the cardiac cath lab expansion.

The three original cath labs that have resided on the hospital's ground floor will be closed to make room for a planned surgery expansion.

"It's great to see St. Mary continuing to take a leadership role in cardiac care," says Director of Interventional Cardiology Dr. George Heyrich. "With the number of cardiac catheterizations we already perform and the completion of these four procedures rooms, we rival any hospital in the region."

Providing vital services to the community, the cardiac cath labs employ the latest technology and advanced clinical procedures to diagnose blockages and narrowing in the arteries, evaluate the pumping ability of the heart and the function of heart valves, and to measure pressures within the heart.

Other procedures performed in the St. Mary Cardiac Catheterization Labs include:

-- Emergency Balloon Angioplasty - While most cath lab procedures are not

emergencies, life-saving emergency balloon angioplasty performed during

a heart attack provides patients the immediate intervention needed to

minimize damage to the heart. Angioplasty clears blockages in arteries

to restore blood flow to the heart. In many cases, coronary stents are

then inserted to support the structure of the blood vessel and keep it

open. Precise coordination between the St. Mary Emergency Department,

interventional cardiologists and cardiac cath lab staff results in

door-to-balloon-time angioplasties being performed much faster than the

national average.

-- Amplatzer Closure - Inserted through a catheter in a leg vein, the

amplatzer closer is threaded through the inferior vena cava to the

heart in order to close patent foramen ovale and atrial septal defects.

Once the device is positioned, it is unsheathed, allowing it to deploy

across the defect and close the hole.

-- Carotid Artery Stenting - This minimally invasive treatment option is

an alternative to traditional surgery for blockages in the carotid

artery. With the patient under local, rather than general, anesthesia

physicians use a combination of balloon angioplasty and a stent implant

to re-open the carotid artery, a major supplier of blood to the brain.

-- Cryoplasty - Used to treat peripheral vascular disease, a specially

designed angioplasty balloon is filled with cold, liquid nitrous oxide

gas, and used to break down plaque and open blocked arteries in the


-- Rotational Atherectomy - Using a high-speed rotational burr, this

technique widens narrowed coronary arteries by removing

atherosclerotic plaque.

-- Drug-eluting Stent Implantation - During this procedure stents coated

with a special medication are permanently implanted to open an artery

and improve blood flow to the heart. The medication coating on these

stents prevents the growth of scar tissue that often causes the treated

artery to close up again.

-- Abdominal Aortic Stent Graft - Used to repair a weakened section of the

aorta (an abdominal aortic aneurysm), a stent graft allows blood to

flow through the stent, entirely bypassing the aneurysm, and thus

preventing rupture.

St. Mary Medical Center performed Bucks County's first open-heart surgery in 1997, and since then, has established a history of "first" milestones in cardiology. In 2005, St. Mary was the first to implant a cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator system with automatic fluid status monitoring, and in 2003, was the first to utilize commercially available drug-eluting stents. St. Mary was also the first facility in Bucks County to perform a bi-ventricular pacemaker implantation in its electrophysiology laboratory in 2002 and the first to utilize a three-dimensional computerized mapping system in the treatment of arrhythmias. St. Mary opened the first cardiac catheterization lab in Bucks County in 1991 and the first electrophysiology lab in 1998.

About St. Mary Medical Center

St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, the most comprehensive medical center in the area, is celebrating 35 years of caring for our community. Its compassionate staff of more than 600 physicians, 2,400 colleagues, and 700 volunteers is committed to providing excellence in patient safety and quality care. St. Mary offers state-of-the-art technology and highly skilled physicians and clinical professionals in providing advanced care for complex cases. Services include a comprehensive cardiovascular program; the only state accredited Trauma Center in Bucks County; Emergency Services with a dedicated Pediatric Emergency Care Center; a Joint Commission certified Primary Stroke Center; specialized diagnostic imaging; obstetrics; a Joint Commission certified hip and knee joint replacement program; exceptional orthopedic surgical capabilities and rehabilitation; advanced brain and spine care; sleep disorders, pain management, and wound healing centers; the St. Mary Breast Center; and the St. Mary Regional Cancer Center.

SOURCE St. Mary Medical Center
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