Thea Digiammerino

New L+M Cath Lab Allows Doctors To Do More Advanced Heart, Vascular Procedures

A $5 million overhaul of Lawrence + Memorial Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab means doctors can do more complex and advanced heart and vascular procedures with state-of-the-art technology locally, instead of sending patients all the way to New Haven for medical treatment.

“I was born right here in this hospital almost 80 years ago,” said Depina Kendros of Niantic.

Her children were also born at L+M, located in New London, and she’s made trips to the hospital countless times.

But when it came to have a peripheral angiogram, Kendros said she had to take about an hour trip to Yale-New Haven Hospital three times and stay overnight. Until now.

“Driving to New Haven was not the simplest thing to do and my husband had a stroke recently so he couldn’t drive. We had to find someone to drive me there and back,” Kendros said.

Dr. Carlos Mena, an interventional cardiologist with Yale-New Haven Health, operated on Kendros in New London in the new Cath Lab Tuesday instead of in New Haven, where he has before.

“(Initially the lab) was limited in terms of how much we could do because of the imaging qualities, because of the equipment that we had, because of the resources,” Mena said.

Dr. Brian Cambi, medical director of Heart & Vascular Center at L+M, oversees the new Cath Lab. While patients still need to head to Yale for open heart surgery and valve replacements, he said L+M has even more advanced capabilities with certain heart, vascular, pacemaker and defibrillator work than ever before.

“There’s more to a patient than just their heart,” Cambi saiad. “So to be able to have their procedure done here, get it fixed here, with the support of their family and their other physicians, is really a win for everybody.”

Patients like Kendros benefit from those advancements.

“It makes all the difference in the world,” Kendros said.

Cambi said L+M already is the only hospital in the eastern part of the state capable of doing emergency and elective angioplasty work for heart attack victims and others.

The new Cath Lab can be added onto, which means the hope is to bring even more advanced procedures to New London in the future, he added.

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