October 4, 1996
Media Contact: Gary Stephenson
Phone: (410) 955-5384

Johns Hopkins Medicine and Howard County General Hospital will open the Central Maryland Heart Center Inc., an outpatient cardiac catheterization center, on the campus of Howard County General Hospital on Sept. 26. It will be the first such facility in Howard County.

The center, a joint venture of Johns Hopkins Medicine and Howard County General Hospital, offers state-of-the-art facilities for testing patients who may be suffering from heart disease using a procedure called cardiac catheterization. This procedure involves inserting a thin catheter into a patient's artery to inject contrast dye inside the heart. Using X-ray technology, cardiologists then track the movement of the dye through the coronary arteries to determine if heart disease is present, as well as to locate blockages and assess the severity of the disease. Many other forms of heart disease also can be diagnosed by cardiac catheterization.

Previously, these services were unavailable in Howard County and individuals needing to be tested for heart disease using this technology were transported to an institution in Washington, D.C., or Baltimore.

"The cardiac catheterization laboratory represents a major commitment to greatly expand and enhance our existing cardiac care services and make cardiac care more convenient for those individuals in our community who require these services," said Victor A. Broccolino, president and CEO of Howard County General Hospital. According to Broccolino, the new center will complement existing state-of-the-art diagnostic services in echocardiography and nuclear cardiology at Howard County General Hospital.

"This new facility will offer a valuable service to the patients of Howard County and provide a convenient location for their cardiologists to treat them," said John D. Stobo, M.D., chairman and CEO of Johns Hopkins HealthCare, the group responsible for developing Hopkins' network. "The joint venture also gives Hopkins a significant presence in the Howard County and Washington, D.C., corridor and affords us an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Howard County General Hospital and local physicians, many of whom are in our managed care network," he added.

There are 11 board-certified/eligible cardiologists on staff at the center, eight from Howard County General Hospital and three from The Johns Hopkins Hospital. The center will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be housed temporarily in a modular unit until construction of the permanent facility is completed in the spring of 1997. Tests can be scheduled by calling 410-884-4640.

Lowell Maughan, M.D., director of cardiac catheterization at Hopkins and medical director of the Central Maryland Heart Center said, "The new center will provide Howard County residents with the highest-quality diagnostic services right at their own community hospital. If tests indicate the need for surgery, patients will be assured they are being referred to the most qualified heart surgeons in the field."

David Jackson, M.D., and Stephen Valenti, M.D., both cardiologists at Howard County General Hospital, are associate directors of the center.

Howard County General Hospital is a 233-bed, private, not-for-profit health care provider located in Columbia. Serving the community since 1973, the original 59-bed, short-stay hospital has grown into a comprehensive, community medical center that specializes in women's and children's services, surgery, cardiology, oncology, gerontology, psychiatry, emergency services, and community health education.

Johns Hopkins Medicine includes The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Medical Services Corp., The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bayview Physicians, Johns Hopkins HealthCare and Johns Hopkins Home Care Group.

-- JHMI --
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