Nurse Manager Kim Pheifer developed Riverview Medical Center's cardiac care lab into a high-level center of service, licensed by the state Dept. of Health to perform both primary and elective angioplasty.
Now she is aiming to do the same at Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, which has recently joined the Meridian Health Network.
Pheifer, 52, of Tinton Falls, runs the Bayshore Cardiac Catheterization Lab overseen by two medical co-directors, Cardiologists Shaddy Younan, M.D. and Parveen Uppal, M.D., and a professional staff.
Last month the Dept. of Health awarded the department a license to expand services and allow adult cardiac catheterization treatment. The department is already beginning to serve patients with severe valve disease, weak heart muscles and victims of certain kinds of heart attacks. Previously, those patients would have to be sent out for treatment at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, or Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy.
"The local community does not have to travel as far," said Dr. Shaddy Younan, a cardiologist and resident of Holmdel who a co-director of the lab with Parveen Uppal, also of Holmdel. "If they were having a heart attack they'd have to be taken up up to Raritan Bay or Riverview -- or even farther. And now, particularly for people in Holmdel, Hazlet, Keyport, Aberdeen, and even some parts of Matawan, its closer than going to the other hospitals."
The third floor department was busy on July 19, with several patients laying in hospital beds in the holding area, waiting their turn for procedures. Inside the operating room, which is visible through glass from the control room, Younan, with a technologist, was performing a 20-minute cardiac catherization on a sedated but awake middle-aged woman.
He inserted a long wire up an artery to her heart, followed by a hollow catheter. He then injected contrasts in order to see the arteries on x-ray. A video was being taken of the arteries, so that Younan could later make a diagnosis whether his patient had coronary artery disease, valve disease, and the severity of the problem.
There are seven local cardiologists currently performing the procedure at the Bayshore "cath" lab, which has two new balloon pumps used for victims in shock. It's all "part of the forward motion Bayshore Community Hospital and the community cardiologists are supporting for the heart-healthy well-being of the community we serve," said Uppal.
The ultimate goal of the department is to be earn the state Health Department's license to perform primary angioplasty. Bayshore will be eligible to apply for the approval early in 2012, said Nurse Manager Pheifer.
"Primary angioplasty is when you put a balloon, or a ballon and a stent, to open up the artery to fix the problem that causing heart attack," she explained. Prior to coming to Bayshore, Pheifer worked for 12 years at Riverview, where she developed the Cardiac Catheterization lab there, which earned licenses to perform both primary and elective angioplasty.
"When you have a heart attack, we always say 'time is muscle' so the sooner we can get the artery open, the less damage to the heart," said Pheifer.
"If you live in the Bayshore area, your best treatment is at Bayshore. If we don't have those services, we have to ship you out, and that takes time.
We have to continue to strive to get to primary angioplasty. That's the gold standard."