of Public Relations
— Over the years, Monmouth
Medical Center has developed a strong cardiac service providing
comprehensive noninvasive cardiac testing, interventional cardiology
and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. In 2004, Monmouth’s
state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratory took a
major step in expanding its cardiac services with the introduction
of emergency coronary angioplasty.
With this designation, Monmouth became one in a select group
of New Jersey hospitals without a cardiac surgery program approved
to offer emergent angioplasty. The hospital has been performing
lifesaving emergency angioplasty for more than a year, with superb
results, and has successfully completed its application to perform
Cardiologist John Checton, M.D., medical director of the hospital’s
cardiac catheterization laboratory and chief of cardiology at
Monmouth, says that the timely use of emergent angioplasty is
an important treatment approach for heart attack patients.
“Prior to this approval, when a patient required emergent
angioplasty, arrangements had to be made to send that patient
to another facility, disrupting the continuity of care and the
support structures for the patient and causing additional stress
for these heart patients and their families,” he says. “This
designation gives us the option of performing angioplasty to
quickly open a blocked coronary artery.
Dr. Checton, who is board certified in cardiovascular disease,
critical care medicine and internal medicine, leads the cardiac
cath lab's medical team, comprised of highly qualified nurses,
technicians and other professionals who possess years of experience
in cardiac care. Interventional cardiologist Rita Watson, MD.,
whose addition to this team has allowed Monmouth to add
peripheral vascular intervention with stent implantation to its
roster of catheterization procedures, is the medical director
for emergent angioplasty services.
A diplomat e of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular
Diseases and Interventional Cardiology and a fellow and officer
of the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions, Dr.
Watson graduated from Harvard Medical School and trained in internal
medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
She received her cardiology training at the National Heart, Lung
and Blood Institute/National Institutes of Health in Bethesda,
Md., and was an assistant professor of medicine at New York’s
Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, where
she was an attending physician in the cath lab.
Jennifer Waxler, D.O., chair of emergency medicine at Monmouth,
points out that before this designation, patients suffering a
heart attack who were brought to Monmouth were treated with clot-busting
drugs to restore normal blood flow, a treatment option that is
less effective than angioplasty, or were transferred to another
facility to undergo angioplasty.
“The addition of emergent angioplasty services at Monmouth
Medical Center is allowing the timely delivery of state-of-the-art
cardiovascular care to our large patient population,” she
says. “At the same time, it is ensuring continuity of
care and maximizing patient and family comfort while improving
quality care at our institution.”
The Emergency Department at Monmouth Medical Center handles
more than 46,000 annual visits by area residents and visitors
to the shore region.
Designated by the American Heart Association as an advanced cardiac
life support-providing agency for both adults and children, the
Emergency Department has interventional cardiologists and cardiac
cath lab nurses providing 24-hour-on-call support.
In 2002, Monmouth Medical Center took a major step in expanding
its cardiac services with the full-service designation of its
cardiac catheterization laboratory — a facility offering
the most advanced technology in the diagnosis of a wide range
of cardiac disorders. Monmouth opened its cardiac catheterization
laboratory in 1997 — filling a void for such services in
Monmouth County. In fact, estimates at the time showed that at
least 1,200 Monmouth County residents had been leaving the county
each year to receive cardiac caths, and volume at the hospital’s
cath lab has continued to grow each year.
This designation as a provider of emergency angioplasty contributes
to significantly strengthening Monmouth Medical Center's leadership
position in providing cardiac care, according to Sharon Holden,
R.N., B.S.N., M.P.A., administrative director of cardiology services.
She points to Monmouth’s comprehensive outpatient services,
including the Joel Opatut Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center,
designed for those recovering from heart disease as well as those
seeking services to help them learn to improve their cardiac
health, and Cardiac Laboratory offering state-of-the-art diagnostic
services to monitor heart health.
"We're able to offer our community a full range of services — from
the minute patients walk through our doors with the first signs
of a heart attack through to their treatment, recovery and rehabilitation," she
For additional information about cardiology services at Monmouth
Medical Center, an affiliate of the Saint Barnabas Health Care
System, call 732-923-6595.
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