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Monday, June 25, 2007 - SJH Cathterization Lab Earns Full-Service Designation

VINELAND, NJ (May 1) – South Jersey Healthcare opened the area’s first permanent state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab at its Regional Medical Center in Vineland in September 2004. By law, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services initially monitors each new catheterization lab to ensure proficiency and safety. Recently the state notified SJH that the new cath lab had successfully achieved or surpassed all the necessary criteria to be designated as a full-service diagnostic facility.

This higher designation allows SJH to offer catheterization services to cardiac patients regardless of the severity of their illness. Upon opening, all new cath labs are limited to “low risk” patients. The Regional Medical Center ’s transition to full-service was completed in less than three years, a notable accomplishment.

Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive procedure used to determine the existence and severity of blockages in the coronary arteries (the group of blood vessels in the chest that transport blood to the heart). By inserting a catheter into the femoral artery in the groin and injecting a special dye that shows up in X-ray images, physicians are able to see the severity of blockage. With this information, cardiologists are able to determine what, if any, treatment or procedure is needed—such as medication, angioplasty or bypass surgery.

“From both a clinical and patient experience standpoint, introducing cardiac cath services has significantly enhanced the care we are able to provide locally, where patients and their families feel most comfortable,” said Richard Dickstein, M.D., medical director of the Regional Medical Center’s cardiac cath lab.

As a full service cath lab nearly all patients needing diagnostic cardiac catheterization will be able to have the procedure performed at the RMC. To date more than 1,200 of these tests have been performed safely and successfully at the facility. The interventional cardiologists who are credentialed to perform catheterizations have combined experience totaling more than 200 years. Many of these cardiologists are also on staff at the most prestigious tertiary care facilities in southern New Jersey.

 “Opening the lab was a great addition to the Regional Medical Center,” said Dr. Dickstein. “Achieving full-service cardiac cath designation signals another major step forward in cardiac care for our communities.”

SJH is a nonprofit, integrated health care system, providing access to a continuum of health services. SJH provides hospital services, numerous community health clinics, home health services, and specialty services, which serve the medical and health care needs of Southern New Jersey residents.