Cardiac imaging now offered in Gouverneur; first new service since hospital reopened
Saturday, June 7, 2014 - 8:08 am

GOUVERNEUR – The newly restructured Gouverneur Hospital is offering its first new service to patients, cardiac echocardiogram, a heart imaging method.

Patients whose practitioners suspect they may have heart murmurs, damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack, hypertension, or other diseases and conditions affecting the normal function of the heart’s chambers and valves now have the option of getting a cardiac echocardiogram at the former E.J Noble Hospital.

Cardiac echocardiography, also known as cardiac echo and cardiac ultrasound, is a technology that uses high-frequency sound waves to create detailed two-dimensional or three-dimensional images of the heart’s chambers and valves as the heart pumps blood to all the regions of the body and exchanges gases in the lungs and tissues.

“It works sort of like a fish-finder,” said Maxine Hill, cardiac ultrasound technician. “The images can be captured in motion or still, so they show the full range of activity the heart undergoes as it expands and contracts, or as the heart’s valves open and close,” she said. “The test is painless, non-invasive, and is usually used in conjunction with a range of other information to make an accurate diagnosis,” she said.

The service, by appointment, will operate in the cardiopulmonary area of the hospital’s east wing. Patients need a referral from a primary care practitioner.

According to the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, cardiac echo can identify those at risk for a heart attack. Early detection of conditions or diseases that might lead to heart failure is key to reducing deaths, invasive surgeries, and costs associated with travel, lost work days, or long stays in intensive care.

“We worked with Canton-Potsdam Hospital to cross-train an ultrasonography technologist in cardiac echo because we knew the community needed this service,” said CPH Director of Respiratory Therapy Dennis Maid. “The trained technologist performs the examination, and then the images are ‘read’ by a heart specialist—a cardiologist. If follow-up is needed, we can help the patient identify options.”

“We listened to practitioners in our area and analyzed health data to determine the need for this new service,” said Gouverneur Hospital CEO Marlinda LaValley. “Having services that can reduce costs to the overall health system as well as to the individual, and keeping people closer to home for care, are two of our major goals in launching new services,” LaValley said.

LaValley, formerly an administrator at CPH, was tapped to be Gouverneur Hospital’s CEO after CPH and GH formally merged.

“Space, staff, and equipment resources will be devoted to services based on community needs, and of course the service must be one that can operate at a high level of quality,” she said. “All those factors enter into our decision-making.”

To learn more about cardiac echo at Gouverneur Hospital or to schedule an appointment, interested individuals should contact their primary care practitioner or call 535-9263 or 9257.