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New cath lab set to move heart care to next level at UMC

By Sara McManamy-Johnson sjohnson@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Oct 23, 2014 at 11:48 PM

Lebanon and Wilson County officials joined University Medical Center staff Thursday to catch a first glimpse of the hospital’s new state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab. 

The facility, a $4 million project for the hospital, is located in 3,500 square feet of existing space in the hospital’s North Tower, conveniently situated below the emergency department.  

The lab will replace the hospital’s existing diagnostic cath lab while adding key capabilities.

According to UMC Director of Physician Outreach and Marketing Adam Groshans, the facility adds interventional capabilities, which increases the speed in which patients needing interventional cardiac care can receive treatment during cardiac emergencies by allowing the patients to receive care closer to home.

The hospital has also brought in Dr. Fathi Ali, a cardiologist who has worked at Vanderbilt and in Maury County. Dr. Ali will join the hospital’s existing diagnostic cardiologists as its designated interventional cardiologist.

“Before, as far as coronary artery disease, which is the main killer, our role was only to diagnose, not treat. UMC is home to several fantastic general cardiologist, but patients requiring interventional cardiology had to be shipped downtown to Nashville,” said Dr. Ali. “Now, we’re going to treat it here through the catheter. We don’t need to send them to Nashville to fix those arteries.”

He said the facility also boasts Tennessee’s first wireless optical coherence tomography (OCT).

“OCT will look at the artery with infrared from within the artery, and it adds information that we cannot see by the usual angiography,” said Dr. Ali. “It is more precise in terms of deciding the size of the stent, whether the stent is fully deployed or not and if there are any potential problems to figure out.”

Along with the state-of-the-art facility, UMC will also be offering a state-of-the-art method for its heart caths. 

Traditionally, heart caths are performed by entering through an artery in the patient’s groin. Doing so, however, limits the patient’s mobility after the procedure. The patient must lie flat with pressure on the site to avoid opening the wound.

“Now we can do it through the radial arteries through the wrist, so the patient can walk within an hour or two with no limitations,” said Dr. Ali. “Not many hospitals try to do this, and we’ll be doing this about 70 percent of the time.”

The lab will officially open Tuesday, and Dr. Ali said the hospital’s emergency department team and cardiologists, as well as area paramedics, have held meetings and are working together to ensure the most efficient responses for cardiac emergencies.

“We have a wonderful staff with lots of experience, and everyone seems to be excited about this and ready for this,” said Dr. Ali.

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