We all know the expression “time is money,” but are you familiar with “time is muscle”? The phrase is common among cardiologists and stresses that the longer a patient waits for treatment after a heart episode, the greater the possible damage. In fact, up to 85 percent of permanent heart muscle damage takes place within 60 to 90 minutes of a heart attack, so there’s no time to lose.
It’s hard to imagine that a community as thriving as Northern Westchester’s still had to send heart attack patients to hospitals in Manhattan or even to neighboring Connecticut for care as recently as a few months ago, leaving them possibly out of time to reverse damage. That has all changed with Northern Westchester Hospital’s new Cardiac Catheterization Lab—a timely addition to the Seema Boesky Heart Center—which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
An extension of Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital Heart & Lung program, a hospital recognized worldwide for its cardiac care and ranked in the top 5 percent of hospitals in the United States, the cath lab (as it’s commonly called) at Northern Westchester Hospital offers that same high-level of care close to home. Patients have timely access not only to Northern Westchester’s high-quality care but to cardiac physicians of all specialties at Lenox Hill.
“We are able to very quickly take care of patients in this immediate community that could not be taken care of in the past,” said Dr. Carl Dietrich Reimers, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab.
To save time, ambulances can even bring patients directly to the Seema Boesky Heart Center, bypassing the emergency department entirely. And a highly trained team is assembled and ready to go within 30 minutes of getting a call, often able to treat patients with minimally invasive procedures.
They say time will tell, and time has told us again and again that those first 90 minutes after a heart attack are crucial. Northern Westchester Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab is making the difference for local patients.