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When 90 Minutes Matter: NWH’s New Cardiac Catheterization Lab Makes The Difference

Dr. Rashid, Dr. Reimers, Dr. Rene and Dr. Basman. Photo Credit: Northern Westchester Hospital
The Cardiac Catheterization Lab Team at Northern Westchester Hospital. Photo Credit: Northern Westchester Hospital

Interventional cardiology. You may not be familiar with those two words, but if you or a loved one ever come to Northern Westchester Hospital in the midst of a heart attack, you will hear them and know that you’re getting the best of specialized care in the hospital’s new cardiac catheterization lab—part of the Seema Boesky Heart Center, which opened September 2.

According to the American Medical Association, interventional cardiology is a “subspecialty of cardiology that deals specifically with the catheter-based treatment of heart diseases.” Since the 1980s this subspecialty has saved countless lives and helped many others avoid open heart surgery.

“A cath lab, as it’s called,” said Dr. Carl Dietrich Reimers, Medical Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, “is a procedural room in a hospital where cardiac specialists diagnose and treat coronary artery disease, such as various types of heart attack, using tiny flexible tubes called catheters to access the heart and coronary (heart) blood vessels.”

With the opening of the lab, residents in surrounding areas will no longer be sent to other hospitals if they’re experiencing a cardiac emergency—the cath lab team now boasts the advanced care to treat these emergencies. And that can make a significant difference, since restoring blood flow in arteries within 90 minutes results in the best outcomes, according to Dr. Reimers.

Dr. Reimers is one of the four interventional cardiologists at the lab. Dr. A. Garvey Rene serves as the Associate Director and Dr. Umar S. Rashid and Dr. Craig Basman round out the quartet. Each has up to 13 years of medical education and training. The skill level of the cath lab nurses are second to none. All cardiac cath nurses are critical-care-trained, and the angiographic technicians receive specialized training that takes standard radiology expertise to the next level.

“Our team has an exceptional opportunity to enhance the healthcare in the surrounding communities and provide specialized treatment that did not exist before,” said Dr. Basman about the new lab.

The team has nothing but excitement for the brand-new, state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab at Northern Westchester Hospital.

“For me, it’s amazing,” said Dr. Rene. “A patient comes in with a heart attack and on the verge of dying. They walk out of the hospital in two to three days.”

“You get to see a patient in acute distress, often at death’s door, and within minutes, you’re able to stop what’s happening with them,” added Dr. Rashid. “You actually see results right there in the room. I can’t imagine anything that compares to that. Every day, it amazes me. It’s what you go into medicine for.”

Dr. Reimers speaks for all four when he says he loves being a doctor: “The patient comes in with a heart attack and you save their life. At the end of the day, when my time is up, I’ll know I did something real—I helped. I couldn’t imagine not being a doctor.”

For more information, visit Northern Westchester Hospital.

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