Mountainside Medical Center expands cardiology services

Photo Courtesy of Mountainside Medical Center
Mountainside Medical Center’s cardiology and interventional catheterization teams and hospital leadership gather after the hospital’s first elective angioplasty procedure. Top row, from left, are Reine Zangue-Temgoua, Tim O’Brien, Stephanie Fabian, Dr. Ankitkumar Patel, Christopher Perry, Francis Rivera, Cathleen Castaldo, Leon Willis and Laura Jarufe; and bottom row, from left, are Alyssa Marchese, Mario Giron-Aguilar, Eric Polo and Jennifer Abitabilo.

GLEN RIDGE / MONTCLAIR, NJ — The New Jersey Department of Health has licensed Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center, located in Glen Ridge and Montclair, to provide elective angioplasty, a scheduled procedure in which cardiologists use stents to open clogged coronary arteries in patients diagnosed with coronary artery disease. This minimally invasive treatment restores blood supply to the heart and helps to prevent heart attack, heart failure and other forms of heart disease.

For many years, Mountainside has provided emergency angioplasty for patients experiencing a heart attack, as well as cardiac catheterization and imaging procedures to diagnose heart disease. This additional licensure allows cardiologists to perform diagnostic testing and, if needed, necessary treatment during one visit. Dr. Ankitkumar Patel, medical director of invasive cardiology at Mountainside, performed the hospital’s first elective case recently. The patient is now home and recuperating well.

Clinical studies conducted at hospitals across the nation, such as the Atlantic Cardiovascular Patient Outcomes Research Team Trial-Elective Angioplasty Study that began in 2008, have shown the safety and efficacy of providing elective angioplasty in hospitals capable of performing the procedure during an emergency.

“Residents of Montclair and the surrounding communities have reason to celebrate, as they can now schedule life-changing elective angioplasty procedures close to home,” said Dr. Ihor Sawczuk, chief research officer at Hackensack Meridian Health. “And, with additional hospitals across our network also becoming licensed, any delay in care that previously could occur due to limited patient capacity will be greatly reduced.”

During angioplasty, also called percutaneous coronary intervention, a tiny expandable metal mesh coil known as a stent is placed in a newly reopened artery to help keep it from narrowing or closing again. During the procedure, a long, thin tube, called a catheter, with a tiny balloon at its tip, is inserted into a blood vessel and guided to the blocked coronary artery. Once the catheter is in place, the balloon is inflated at the narrow area of the artery, making more room for blood flow. Fluoroscopy, a special type of X-ray, helps the cardiologist find the blockages of the heart arteries as a contrast dye moves through them.

Mountainside’s interventional catheterization suite provides patients with state-of-the-art technology and a radial lounge. The medical center has achieved Joint Commission Disease Specific Certifications in chest pain and heart failure, and echocardiography accreditation by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. In addition, the medical center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Department is accredited by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. 

“I am proud of Mountainside’s achievements,” Mountainside CEO Tim O’Brien said. “With this licensure and plans to expand the hospital’s interventional catheterization suite, we are elated to begin the next phase in providing comprehensive cardiac care at Mountainside.”

Cardiovascular diseases are the No. 1 cause of disability and death for men and women. 

“Though elective angioplasty is new to Mountainside, rest assured that the medical center’s team is experienced in providing angioplasty to save and improve the quality of lives of patients,” Patel said.

Hospitals providing angioplasty have arrangements in place with facilities that provide open-heart surgery in case of emergency. Mountainside’s backup facility is Hackensack University Medical Center.

In May 2021, the NJDOH enabled the state’s hospitals to begin an application process, including extensive data collection and a site survey, to receive licensure to become a full-service catheterization lab for diagnostic testing, or add an elective angioplasty service to a preexisting emergency angioplasty services. Eight Hackensack Meridian Health medical centers in Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties have applied for expanded services.