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Northside-Forsyth gets OK to expand cardiology program
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Forsyth County News
Detection is key in preventing heart disease.

And for some 1,100 residents of Forsyth and Dawson counties, who have had to travel more than 20 miles to access cardiac catheterization services, that detection soon will be closer.

The Georgia Department of Community Health recently gave Northside Hospital-Forsyth the go-ahead to develop an adult cardiac catheterization service for its growing cardiology program.

Over the past few years, the program has added diagnostic cardiac services like EKG, stress test equipment, echocardiography, holter monitoring and nuclear testing.

“They give you certain views of the heart, but you cannot definitely tell if there’s a blockage in some areas,” said Maureen Wilson, director of the cardiology program. “If you have something that looks suspicious, you’re normally going to send the patient for a cath.”

Through the catheterization, a dye is injected into a patient’s arteries, making blockages easier to detect. From the diagnosis, Wilson said physicians are able to decide the next course of action.

With the addition of the catheterization equipment in a few months, the hospital will be able to fully detect all heart-related issues, Wilson said.

“The cath was really the only thing that we were missing out on,” she said. “We’ve been waiting to do this a long time and have been planning on it for several years.”

Wilson will have to wait a little longer, as it could be another six to eight months before the equipment is ready for use.

“We placed the order, but they have to assemble the machine,” she said. “So it will be a few months before it’s all installed. Just the installation of the machine takes a couple of weeks.”

The hospital expects to perform more than 750 procedures within the first year of operation of the lab, which will be located near the hospital’s radiology department.