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Cardiac Programs

Cardiac Programs and Services


Contact Us at 845.368.5620 

Bon Secours Charity Health System includes one of the most awarded and comprehensive cardiovascular programs in the lower Hudson Valley. The Active International Cardiovascular Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital offers complete cardiovascular care provided by a highly experienced cardiac team.  

Our patient focused care is enhanced by easy and fast communication with all members of the team, including surgeons, cardiologists, heart failure specialists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses and technicians. This facilitates timely decision making in those important “matters of the heart”.

Our cardiologists are experts in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. We provide comprehensive care and consultative services including general cardiology, the latest advances in medical treatment and diagnostic imaging, and state-of-the-art intervention for heart disease and the prevention of heart disease. This encompasses the spectrum of treatment from preventative cardiology to treatment of patients with advanced cardiovascular diseases.

National Recognition:

  

Good Samaritan Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), was awarded Healthgrades' top rating for performance in Coronary Intervention Excellence. 

Good Samaritan Hospital is one of only two hospitals in Orange and Rockland counties, to receive the 2018 and 2019 Five-Star rating for Coronary Intervention, along with the Coronary Intervention Excellence Award from Healthgrades. Healthgrades is the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. A five-star rating indicates Good Samaritan Hospital’s clinical outcomes are significantly better than national averages when treating the condition or performing the procedure being evaluated.

The program has also been recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals™ for Coronary Intervention in 2019.  Patients treated at hospitals receiving the America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Coronary Intervention Award have, on average 44.6% lower risk of dying than if they were treated in hospitals that did not receive the award.   

*Healthgrades evaluated approximately 45 million Medicare inpatient records from nearly 4,500 short-term acute-care hospitals nationwide to assess hospital performance in 32 common conditions and procedures. Healthgrades recognizes a hospital’s quality achievements for cohort-specific performance, specialty area performance and overall clinical quality. The complete Healthgrades 2018 Report to the Nation and detailed study methodology can be found at www.healthgrades.com/quality.

Our team of Cardiologists, Cardiothoracic Surgeons and Electrophysiologists have been awarded 35 individual Patients’ Choice Physican Awards from Vitals.com.  Only doctors who have received top scores by their patients and pass other quality measures are awarded the Patients’ Choice Award. Additionally, the physicians were honored with nearly 30 Compassionate Doctor Awards and 15 On-Time Doctor Awards from Vitals.com recognizing their high overall, bedside manner and promptness scores.

Program Details:

The following cardiovascular diagnostic studies are provided by the Cardiologists:

  • M-mode, contrast and two-dimensional echocardiography with color flow imaging
  • Contrast echocardiography
  • Stress echocardiography including treadmill and dobutamine stress echo
  • Multi-plane transesophageal and intraoperative echocardiography with Doppler and color flow imaging
  • Standard treadmill or pharmacologic stress testing
  • MUGA scans to evaluate left ventricular function
  • Holter and event monitoring
  • Device interrogation and follow-up

Our therapeutic treatments include:

  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) – pre- and post- TAVR evaluations performed at Good Samaritan Hospital; TAVR procedure performed at WMCHealth
  • Diagnostic cardiac catheterization and angiography
  • Transradial cardiac catheterization and coronary intervention
  • Coronary angioplasty (PTCA) and coronary stenting
  • Rotational atherectomy (Rotoblator)
  • Treatment of peripheral arterial disease including stent placement
  • Laser therapy for peripheral venous disease
  • Dedicated Heart Failure Program and specialists offering treatment of advanced heart failure 
  • Percutaneous left ventricular assist devices
  • Fractional flow reserve measurement with pressure wire
  • Intravascular coronary imaging within travascular ultrasound (IVUS)
  • Pericardiocentesis and percutaneous pericardial window
  • Cardioversion


Hear from Our Patients 

Testimonial 1: Kevin Quinn

A Retired NYC Firefighter Becomes an Unlikely Heart Attack Victim


This retired NYC firefighter was the picture of health — and then he had a heart attack.

By Melissa F. Pheterson

With a nor’easter predicted for Tuesday, March 14, 2017, Kevin Quinn decided to take advantage of the late-winter sun to jog outside on Monday. Quinn, 63, a retired New York City firefighter, jogged most days, rain or shine, hot or cold. But even in the calm before the storm, that run felt different.

“I was almost a mile into the run, and I felt something strange — a pressure or a pain in my chest,” he recalls. “Something stopped me. I asked myself: Was I short of breath? I was. Does my left arm hurt? It did. Normally, when I stop for aches and pains, they’re muscular; I slow down but keep running. But I knew these were symptoms of something serious.”

He was right. Two of the vessels that supply blood to his heart — the left circumflex artery and the right coronary artery — had built up enough plaque to narrow dangerously, obstructing flow. In fact, his circumflex artery (a critical branch of the left main coronary artery) had reached 100 percent occlusion, meaning no blood could pass to supply oxygen to portions of the left ventricle. His right coronary artery was 80 percent blocked. Quinn was having a heart attack, right in the middle of a West Nyack neighborhood.

Denial and Delay

Quinn didn’t have his cellphone to call 911, and while he should have rung the nearest doorbell, he admits he was still in denial at that point.

“I started to walk home very slowly, praying the whole way. When I did get home, I took a shower.” He called his sister, a nurse, to say he was thinking of driving himself to the hospital. “She said, ‘That’s the worst thing you could do,’” he recalls.

Suspecting a heart attack, she urged him to call an ambulance.

The first responders performed an electrocardiogram that confirmed the emergency. Knowing they had to bring Quinn to the most advanced level of care as quickly as possible, they took him to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth). Quinn was admitted and taken straight to its cardiac catheterization lab, where Cary Hirsch, MD, FACC, Medical Director of the Active International Cardiovascular Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital, met his patient and got to work.

His team performed an angioplasty, a procedure that involves inserting a catheter through a blood vessel in Quinn’s groin, and threading it through to the heart to assess and reverse the blockage.

“We had to reopen the totally occluded artery right away,” says Dr. Hirsch. This meant inserting a stent — a mesh tube coated with medicine that slowly releases into the artery to physically open the vessel and prevent it from restenosis, restoring the flow and precious oxygen the heart muscle needs to survive.

“The doctors and nurses explained what they were doing and what I was feeling,” Quinn recalls. “I was awake during the whole procedure, and our conversation took my mind off how serious this situation could have been. It made me feel safe.”

With his patient stable and resting comfortably, Dr. Hirsch decided he would place a stent in the right coronary artery on Wednesday.

Strokes of Luck

After nightfall, a winter storm assaulted the Hudson Valley with more than two feet of snow and hazardous wind gusts. Had Quinn’s symptoms been delayed just one day — perhaps striking when he was outside, shoveling snow — the ambulance would have faced hazardous conditions while transporting him to Good Samaritan Hospital, losing critical time in the period before the heart muscle suffers irreversible damage.

On Wednesday, Dr. Hirsch performed a routine check of the left circumflex artery and found another near-complete stenosis, or blockage, slightly downstream in the artery from where Monday’s stent had been placed.

“Part of the problem with acute myocardial infarction [heart attack] angioplasty is that when you inject the artery, it’s completely occluded,” Dr. Hirsch says. “To use a driving analogy: You’re traveling at night, without headlights, and you don’t know if there’s more road ahead or not.” But now that the first stent had restored blood flow to the upper segment, lower segments had reappeared on X-rays to reveal further blockage. Dr. Hirsch had to insert another stent at the distal circumflex artery. Then the third stent was placed on the right side, as planned.

From there, Quinn recovered quickly. “I felt immediately better,” he says. “The whole blockage was slowing me down, making me tired.”

Dr. Hirsch and his team advised him to modify his diet to reduce red meat and sodium levels. A course of cardiac rehabilitation helped him return to walking and eventually running, though now he always carries a phone.

“Everyone thought I’d be the last person this would happen to,” Quinn says.

For Dr. Hirsch, this irony underscores a key aspect of heart disease.

“Among acute myocardial infarction patients, he’s an outlier: not sedentary, not diabetic or overweight, not a cigarette smoker,” Dr. Hirsch says. “Two out of three coronary arteries had major blockages, but he was running a significant amount, without symptoms. His experience shows that lifestyle is not the be-all and end-all to health and that exercise isn’t always the ‘cure’ for heart conditions. There may be genetic factors, such as hypertension, that place an individual at risk for coronary disease, despite living a healthy lifestyle.”

Quinn’s stents, combined with lowered cholesterol levels, should prevent further buildup of plaque on his arteries. Dr. Hirsch still monitors his condition and advises him on matters such as vitamins and jogging in the cold.

“I was impressed from the start with the team at Good Samaritan Hospital,” Quinn says. “From the EMTs to the nurses to Dr. Hirsch, they all pitched in to save my life.”

Testimonial 2:  Jordan Brandeis

Jordan Brandeis, 71, from New City, NY loves to stay active. He and his wife frequent their local gym five days a week, so when he was feeling some discomfort in his upper chest he did not immediately think it was a heart condition.

“I work out and I eat healthy, plus I wasn’t experiencing any of the traditional symptoms of a heart attack, like sharp pains or soreness in my arm. Thankfully, the discomfort I was feeling was strong enough that we went to the hospital on December 17, 2018,” said Brandeis.

As soon as Brandeis and his wife Libby arrived at the Emergency Department at Good Samaritan Hospital they were rushed in to see the doctor who quickly assessed the situation and called for a cardiology consult. Through an angiogram, cardiologist Andrew Shih, MD, FACC, determined that Brandeis had four complete blockages in his arteries and had suffered a heart attack. He was unable to repair the damage with stents; open heart surgery was the only option to keep the heart functioning.

“I had specifically chosen a cardiologist in Manhattan so if I ever needed heart surgery I could have it done at Lenox Hill or Columbia, and now it became clear that wasn’t an option. I had never thought I would have just minutes to make this decision,” said Brandeis.

The life-saving balloon pump Dr. Shih implanted as a temporary solution made it very dangerous to transport Brandeis. It was also a risk for him to delay the surgery anymore by traveling into the city. He and his wife immediately began researching the hospital, asking friends, family and the staff about Good Samaritan Hospital’s cardiology program.

“No one had a negative thing to say about [the cardiothoracic program] at Good Samaritan Hospital. My wife’s nephew is a doctor, and he said that the fact that we got to meet and speak to the doctors who would actually be performing the surgery was a huge plus. We would know for sure that it wasn’t someone who was learning on the job on my heart,” said Brandeis.

Cardiothoracic surgeons, Chirag Badami, MD, FACS and Cary Passik, MD, FACS both came to speak with Brandeis and his wife to explain the details of the quadruple bypass, and answer any questions to alleviate their anxiety.

“It came down to trust. I decided to stay and have the surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital because I trusted the doctors after speaking with them. They were very knowledgeable and experienced and had a great bedside manner. I felt confident in them and in my decision to stay in Rockland for my surgery,” said Brandeis.

The surgery was very successful and after five days in cardiac recovery, Brandeis was able to return home.

“We were delighted with everything at the hospital from the Emergency Department, to the pre-operation care, my doctors and nurses, the staff that took care of me in recovery. Everyone was professional and kind. They treated my wife with respect and care. The facilities and the recovery room were phenomenal and the convenience was so helpful.” Brandeis was so impressed with his treatment, he decided to continue his follow-up care with Dr. Shih rather than travel back into Manhattan for his cardiology appointments.

“I firmly believe it was the fast action of the whole staff at Good Samaritan Hospital that saved my life – if I left the hospital I wouldn’t have made it. I realized that you can get the same level of care right here in Rockland, and you don’t need to travel. You don’t always have that choice and it is good to know life-saving care is right here.”

Testimonial 3:  Michael Weisgarber 

A Precise, Unexpected Diagnosis Makes A Life-Saving Difference

Surgeons at Good Samaritan Hospital treat a dangerous heart condition called aortic dissection in the nick of time.

By David Levine

Michael Weisgarber, a special-education teacher at Orange Ulster BOCES, had just finished teaching summer school and was looking forward to his two-week vacation.

But, at his Suffern home on Sunday, August 12, 2018, he felt a pain in his chest that quickly escalated. “I could tell it was more than just heartburn,” says Weisgarber, 51. He had trouble catching his breath and experienced pain and weakness in his legs.

A neighbor drove him to Good Samaritan Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), a few miles away. Quick evaluation in the Emergency Department, including a CT scan, revealed he was not having a heart attack but was instead suffering from an aortic dissection, a rare and even more life-threatening problem that requires immediate surgery.

Luckily, cardiothoracic surgeon Chirag Badami, MD, was working that Sunday. He knew how serious the situation was.

Dr. Badami called his colleague, cardiothoracic surgeon Cary Passik, MD, to come in on his day off because this complex operation required the expertise of more than one surgeon. (He also called his wife. “It was her birthday, and I told her I couldn’t take her out to dinner,” Dr. Badami says.)

An aortic dissection occurs when a tear forms in the inner layer of the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body. As blood flows through the tear, it causes the layers of the aorta to separate, or dissect, and fill with blood. The resulting obstruction can block blood vessels and blood flow in and out of the heart, as well as cause blood leakage that can lead to shock. If this channel bursts, it can cause quick and fatal blood loss.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, aortic dissection occurs in about two out of every 10,000 people. “It’s not terribly common,” Dr. Passik says. “The problem is that mortality without an emergency operation goes up about 1 percent per hour for the first 48 hours, so there is a need to get going as quickly as possible.”

Weisgarber’s situation, however, was complicated. When his aorta split, Dr. Passik explains, blood flow to his lower body was affected. This caused Weisgarber’s leg pain and weakness. If repairing the dissection did not restore blood flow to his legs, he would need more surgery.

During the procedure, his chest was opened, and his body was supported by the heart-lung machine. Utilizing a technique known as deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, Weisgarber’s body temperature was lowered to about 65°F, so that his brain and other organs could safely withstand a lack of blood flow for up to 30 minutes while the diseased, torn section of the aorta was replaced with a synthetic graft. “The patient actually has no vital signs during this portion of the operation,” Dr. Passik says. In Weisgarber’s case, it took just 14 minutes before he was back on the heart-lung machine.

Weisgarber handled the six-hour surgery without a problem, and blood flow returned to his lower extremities. He woke in the ICU that same day, was up and walking the next day and was discharged five days later. 

He slowly built his stamina and strength by walking. “In a few months, I may be able to run and lift things, but not yet,” he said in October. But he can drive and hopes to return to work soon. Risk factors for aortic dissection include uncontrolled high blood pressure, a genetic predisposition like Marfan’s disease, a preexisting aortic aneurysm, drug use that leads to high blood pressure, and heavy weightlifting, among others. None of these applied in Weisgarber’s case, and there was no family history of heart disease. So, the cause of his rupture is ultimately unknown but presumed to be genetic.

“Luckily, he came in as soon as he didn’t feel well,” Dr. Badami says, though he does advise anyone who thinks they may be having a heart attack to call 911.

“The cardiac surgical group at Good Samaritan Hospital has over 40 years of combined experience. We knew our team could handle it,” Dr. Passik says. “We have the capability to do complex procedures here. You don’t need to go down to the city. For the most part, people don’t have to look any further than this hospital for their cardiovascular care.”

Weisbarger concurs.

“How lucky for me that you can walk into a hospital on Sunday and a cardiothoracic surgeon is right there to say, ‘We have to take care of this right now,’” he says. “I got outstanding care at Good Sam. The doctors and nurses, the whole staff, were instrumental in getting me on my feet, out the door and back home.”

 To learn more about cardiothoracic surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital, call 845.368.8800.

Photo By John Halpern


Hear From Our Experts 

Cary Hirsch, MD, FACC, Co-Director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital

 

  

 

 

 

Cardiothoracic Surgeons:  Cary S. Passik, MD, FACS; Chirag Dilip Badami, MD, FACS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agarwal, Arvind
Internal Medicine
Interventional Cardiology
Aggarwal-Gupta, Chhaya
Advanced Heart Failure
Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease
Badami, Chirag D.
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Cantor, Richard S.
Cardiovascular Disease
Interventional Cardiology
Chirumamilla, Amala
Cardiovascular Disease
Echocardiography
Internal Medicine
Nuclear Cardiology
Frenkel, Daniel
Cardiac Electrophysiology
Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease
Gass, Alan L.
Gass, Alan L.
Medical Director, Cardiac Transplantationand Mechanical Circulatory Support
Advanced Heart Failure
Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease
Grewal, Perminder
Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease
Internal Medicine
Hirsch, Cary L.
Hirsch, Cary L.
Medical Director, Cardiovascular InstituteMedical Director, Clinical Innovation & QualityCo-Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Cardiovascular Disease
Interventional Cardiology
Hurwitz, Seth
Hurwitz, Seth
Medical Director, Echocardiography
Cardiovascular Disease
Kaufmann, Walter
Cardiology
Internal Medicine
Kazanjian, Harry
Cardiology
Nuclear Cardiology
Lanier, Gregg M.
Lanier, Gregg M.
Director, Pulmonary Hypertension Program, Associate Director, Heart Failure Service
Advanced Heart Failure
Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease
Levine, Elliot (Avi)
Advanced Heart Failure
Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease
Lutwak, Seymour H.
Cardiology
Najovits, Andrew J.
Najovits, Andrew J.
Director, Echocardiography, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center
Cardiovascular Disease
Pandya, Sunandan
Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease
Internal Medicine
Parikh, Shital
Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease
Internal Medicine
Passik, Cary S.
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Prabhu, William
Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease
Interventional Cardiology
Rojas, Rhadames
Cardiac Electrophysiology
Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease
Root, Lee
Cardiovascular Disease
Shih, Andrew C.
Cardiovascular Disease
Interventional Cardiology
Singh, Rajiv
Cardiology
Internal Medicine
Interventional Cardiology
Sridhara, Bangalore
Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease
Internal Medicine
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