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For Release Upon Receipt                                 July 12, 2000

Sharon Regional unveils new $8 million Heart Institute

Public Open House set for Sunday

Construction and renovations are nearly complete for the opening of the new $8 million Heart Institute at Sharon Regional Health System. The Heart Institute is bringing, open heart surgery, currently not available in Mercer County, along with a number of other advanced heart surgical and interventional procedures to Sharon Regional.

The Heart Institute includes two new open heart surgical suites, a cardiovascular recovery and intensive care unit, waiting areas for patients and families and a second cardiac catheterization lab.

The $8 million project included $4.2 million in construction and $3.8 million in equipment. Open heart surgery patients receive highly specialized treatment and care strictly within Sharon Regional’s second floor, which is designed to be a “heart hospital within a hospital.”

Open heart procedures will begin upon final completion of the two new cardiac operating rooms and inspections and certifications by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. A public open house of the new Heart Institute is scheduled for Sunday, July 16 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and will include tours of the new cardiovascular unit and angioplasty/advanced cardiac cath suite. There will also be an opportunity to tour a new operating room set up for a simulated open heart surgery, meet the physicians, nurses, and other specialty staff, and enjoy refreshments.

Renowned cardiac surgeon George Magovern, Jr., M.D., directs the open heart program at The Heart Institute. Dr. Magovern is a senior member of the world-class surgical group Cardio-Thoracic Surgical Associates, sometimes known as the Magovern Group.

With the addition of open heart surgery, Sharon Regional will be the only hospital in Mercer County capable of performing low-risk and advanced cardiac caths and angioplasty. Sharon Regional performed more than 700 cath procedures last year in its low-risk lab.

During the past decade, Sharon Regional’s Heart Center enjoyed a number of firsts for the area. It has grown steadily under the leadership of cardiologist James P. Landis, Jr., M.D., who serves as the medical director of the new Heart Institute. He and his three fellow cardiologists, James Ryan, M.D., Joseph Millan, M.D., and Ronnie Mignella, M.D., along with Ramnath Rau, M.D., have been instrumental in the continuing development of cardiac care at Sharon Regional.

The first phase of the Heart Institute opened in June and included a $1.26 million Philips cardiac catheterization suite. Cardiac catheterizations enable Sharon Regional cardiologists to perform an angiogram, a diagnostic procedure that evaluates blood flow through the veins and arteries of the heart.

During this procedure, a long thin tube called a catheter is inserted through the patient’s leg or wrist, and using X-ray guidance, is advanced to the area of interest. Once the site is located, a contrast agent (dye) is injected and computer assisted digital X-ray images are recorded to aid in diagnosis.

Cardiologists recently started performing the cath procedure through the radial artery in the wrist, which has a complication rate 20 times less than those done through the groin, according to Dr. Landis. Sharon Regional is the only county hospital to offer this advanced cath technique.

Following the opening of The Heart Institute, the new cath lab will also be used for highly advanced cardiac catheterizations, angioplasty, stents, rotoblator procedures, and more. Having open heart surgery available within the Heart Institute will also allow Sharon Regional cardiologists to promptly perform rescue angioplasty, the treatment of choice for patients having a heart attack due to the blockage of blood vessels.