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New heart procedure service opens in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center on Tuesday opened a catheterization service for minimally invasive heart procedures that represents an unusual joint project by Western New York’s major competing hospitals.

The state last year approved the $2.2 million cardiac catheterization laboratory involving Catholic Health, Kaleida Health and Erie County Medical Center. The Heart Center of Niagara is located at Memorial Medical Center’s downtown Niagara Falls campus.

Kaleida Health, Niagara Falls Memorial and Mount St. Mary’s Hospital and Health Center in Lewiston, which is a Catholic Health site, had filed separate catheterization lab applications with the state Health Department. The state encouraged the organizations to consider a joint venture. One barrier was overcome when Catholic Health agreed to locate the lab in Niagara Falls rather than Mount St. Mary’s.

Niagara Falls' new heart-saving cath lab is a team effort

Cardiac catheterization is a procedure for diagnosing and treating heart conditions in which a tube called a catheter is threaded through blood vessels to provide angiography, stent placement and balloon angioplasty for heart problems. About 1,900 Niagara County residents were undergoing cardiac catheterization procedures at Catholic Health’s Heart Center at Mercy Hospital and Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute, officials said in advocating for the project.

Dr. Neil Dashkoff, a cardiologist and the former director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at ECMC, is medical director of the new service.

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