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BIDMC, Lawrence General Collaborate on Cardiac Care

Enhancing cardiac catheterization, emergency angioplasty services in Merrimack Valley

LAWRENCE, Mass. -- Lawrence General Hospital interventional cardiologists will join forces with their peers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston to significantly enhance cardiac catheterization and emergency angioplasty services in the Merrimack Valley.

Beginning in mid-January, cardiologists from Lawrence General and the world-renowned CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will collaborate to provide emergency angioplasty services for heart attack patients at Lawrence General. Physicians from both Lawrence General and BIDMC's CardioVascular Institute will perform angioplasties in the recently renovated cardiac catheterization suite at the local hospital.

When more than angioplasty is needed to treat an ailing heart, patients will benefit from the support of the CardioVascular Institute team in Boston. For example, patients requiring a coronary by-pass procedure will now typically have that surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess.

Area residents have had rapid access to life-saving angioplasty at Lawrence General since the program began in July 2008. The availability of care close to home is important because national standards suggest the procedure is most effective when performed within 90 minutes of a heart attack. A catheter is inserted into an artery and a tiny balloon on the end is expanded to clear the blockage in the blood vessel.

Two local cardiologists on the staff of Lawrence General Hospital will lead the local team. Seth Bilazarian, MD, director of interventional cardiology at Pentucket Medical Associates, will now serve as director. He and Sunit Mukherjee, MD, have treated patients in the angioplasty program since its inception. In the past year and a half, their team has performed 75 emergency angioplasties at Lawrence General.

Together with these local physicians, CardioVascular Institute interventional cardiologists from BIDMC will provide leadership and support. David E. Leeman, MD, will direct quality assurance activities and both he and Jeffrey J. Popma, MD, will provide on-site coverage and perform procedures at Lawrence General. The CardioVascular Institute interventional cardiology group will also provide ongoing educational and training support for the staff at Lawrence General Hospital.

The angioplasty program and cardiac catheterization programs were formerly a collaboration between Lawrence General and Holy Family Hospital. Lawrence General will now operate its program in conjunction with the CardioVascular Institute.

Lawrence General President and CEO Dianne J. Anderson said, "Working together, the newly formed, experienced team will provide emergency angioplasty 24/7 at Lawrence General. They will be performing procedures in a catheterization suite which has just been completely renovated and equipped with the very latest technology."

Donald E. Cutlip, MD, BIDMC's CardioVascular Institute section chief of interventional cardiology, who oversees the program, said, "We are delighted to collaborate with a hospital of Lawrence General's caliber to offer this important service and to continue our longstanding relationship with our colleagues in this community."

A specially trained and certified team of nurses and technologists assists with procedures. Nurse Kathy Caredeo, RN, BSN, MM, director of the catheterization laboratory will move from the former joint program to direct the effort at Lawrence General. "We have been fortunate to recruit an experienced, highly trained team and are fully staffed and ready to open in mid-January," says Caredeo.

About the Cardiovascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

The Cardiovascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center combines cardiology, cardiac surgery and vascular surgery in a highly integrated, single structure. Its staff of 600 delivers outstanding outcomes, easy access and better service, earning BIDMC recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of the best 100 hospitals for heart care and surgery. Community-based cardiologists and vascular surgeons at 28 convenient offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire provide a wide range of services and, when advanced care is needed, refer patients to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. For more information, including outcomes data, visit www.bidmc.harvard.edu/CVI.