South Nassau Communities Hospital's Treatment of Coronary Artery Disease Earns Gold Performance Award

South Nassau Communities Hospital has been awarded a Gold Performance Achievement Award in Coronary Artery Disease from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get with the Guidelines program.

Oceanside, NY, August 21, 2010 --( In recognition of its compliance with best-practice clinical guidelines in cardiac care, South Nassau Communities Hospital has been awarded a Gold Performance Achievement Award in Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The GuidelinesSM (GWTG) program. This marks the second consecutive year that South Nassau has earned the Gold Performance Achievement Award for achieving high standards in the treatment of CAD.

Ruth Ragusa, RN, vice president for organizational effectiveness for South Nassau, said, “Earning a Gold Performance Award again is testimony that we understand that excellence is not a one time act, it is something that we do repeatedly. We will not relent in our goal to perform at 100%, 100% of the time.”

The GWTG program is a quality-improvement program that helps hospitals provide cardiac and stroke care in accordance with the most up-to-date guidelines and recommendations. Hospitals that continually meet or exceed the nationally accepted standards, or guidelines, improve their quality patient care by turning guidelines into “lifelines.” Upon meeting specific criteria, hospitals are recognized for performance achievement if at least 85 percent of their cardiac or stroke patients are treated and discharged according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s guidelines and recommendations.

Research has shown that 80,000 lives can be saved annually if the program’s recommended guidelines for coronary artery disease are implemented nationwide. GWTG was the first hospital-based program to receive the prestigious Innovation in Prevention Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2004. Presently, nearly 2,000 hospitals use one or more GWTG modules. For more information, visit

“While this honor is a reflection of South Nassau’s consistency in achieving high standards in the treatment of coronary artery disease, what it means to the residents and communities we serve is that in the event you, a loved one or friend need expert, advanced, potentially life-saving cardiac care, you need look no further than your South Nassau,” said Jason Freeman, MD, FACC, director of interventional cardiology.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the age-adjusted rate of deaths attributed to heart disease is down 25.8 percent since 1999. According to the American Heart Association, the main factors that have helped reduce the rate of deaths caused by heart disease include the establishment of guidelines for the treatment and prevention of heart attacks; improvements in medications and in technology; and the timely delivery of appropriate treatments, such as angioplasty or thrombolysis to open blocked coronary arteries.

South Nassau’s Center for Cardiovascular Health is built on those factors. The center treats patients with the combination of advanced technologies and best practices and is equipped with the latest advancements in cardiac digital imaging systems. Its echocardiography lab is accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for Accreditation of Echocardiography (ICAEL). The prestigious accreditation is awarded in recognition of a commitment to quality testing for the diagnosis of heart disease and is based on the quality and critical elements of the echocardiography laboratory.

The center performs a wide range of coronary and peripheral interventional procedures, including balloon angioplasty, stenting, and thrombolytic therapy. When providing balloon angioplasty in an emergency, the center consistently achieves a door-to-balloon-time of approximately 70 minutes, which is 20 minutes faster than the medically recommended door-to-balloon time benchmark of 90 minutes.

Lawrence Kanner, MD, FACC, director of electrophysiology and arrhythmia services, and the center’s staff of electrophysiologists use advanced technologies to provide timely, accurate diagnoses and therapies to treat the range of cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) and defibrillator complications. Services include diagnostic studies, implantation and testing of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, and radio-frequency catheter ablation for the treatment of potentially fatal irregular heartbeats.

Cardiac imaging specialists at the center are well-versed in nuclear cardiology (which generates images of the heart at work, during exercise, and at rest), echocardiogram via the trans-thoracic method (a non-invasive, highly accurate and quick assessment of the overall health of the heart in which a probe is placed on the chest wall of the patient to produce images of the heart), and transesophageal echocardiogram (which uses a specialized probe containing an ultrasound transducer at its tip that is passed into the esophagus and is used to provide clear views of areas of the heart that would be difficult to view transthoracically).

The center’s cardiac imaging services also include stress echocardiogram (which involves exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle while the patient is monitored by technology using high-frequency sound waves that produces a graphic outline of the heart's movement, valves, and chambers) and diagnostic peripheral vascular ultrasound (noninvasive diagnostic technique used to evaluate the health of blood vessels) for patients with peripheral arterial disease.

South Nassau Communities Hospital
Damian J. Becker