East County residents can now supersize their fast-food combos, go for seconds on the fettuccini Alfredo and scarf down an extra tiramisu or two, comforted by the knowledge that when their arteries clog up they will no longer need to drive over the hill to get them imaged and cleaned out.
Last week, Sutter Delta Medical Center (SDMC) unveiled an upgraded $5 million facility that makes Antioch home to the Bay Area's most technologically advanced cardiovascular intervention lab, according to Angela Juarez-Lombardi, SDMC communications manager.
The word has been getting out, she said. The more the patients know it's here, they can tell their primary-care doctor and cardiologist, I don't have to go over the hill we can have our procedures here close to home.'
This is going to make a significant impact on the quality of cardiovascular care available in East Contra Costa's communities, said Dr. Gurunath Rajapuram in a press release. The upgrade allows us to provide more comprehensive care than was previously available in East County; it aligns our community with a level of care that is higher than that available in most major metropolitan areas.
The lab provides live, high-definition images of the entire vascular system that help doctors evaluate and treat heart failure and blockages. Under construction for the last year, the lab was recently unveiled in an open house at the hospital on Lone Tree Way.
Dr. Alejandro Prieto explained that the patient lies on the lab table sandwiched between the imaging devices while a dye is injected into the arteries to better see them on the screen. Then a long, thin tube is inserted through the groin to the imaged area, acting as a monorail for a balloon to clean out the clogged area.
The lab is made possible in part by a $300,000 contribution from the Delta Memorial Hospital Foundation, money that was raised largely through numerous golf tournaments over the years.
It's a very large gift, and we are really grateful to the donors, said Rudeen Monte, director of the foundation. With so many people 55 and over and retirement communities (in East County), we really wanted to make sure we had cardiac-care facilities.
In addition to hiring Prieto, a leading interventional cardiologist, to staff the new lab, the hospital also hired one of the most highly trained surgeons in the Bay Area, Dr. Tanveer Khan.