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Cardiac doc: New cath lab will improve access, reduce cost

It’s about the patients. That’s Karing Hearts Cardiology CEO Dr. Jeff Schoondyke’s stated rationale for a now successful effort to gain permission for a freestanding cardiac catheterization lab in Johnson City.

Karing Hearts succeeded in gaining a certificate of need for a standalone cath lab in a hearing on Sept. 28, before Tennessee’s Health Facilities Commission (HFC).

Schoondyke answered questions about some of the reasons that Ballad and ETSU Physicians, which also opposed the application, presented in their arguments. And he continued to insist, as he has since announced an interest in establishing the facility, that it will benefit consumers and won’t be dangerous to patients or involve so-called “cherry picking” of patients with more financial resources.


Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)

A transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is an invasive heart procedure where an ultrasound probe is inserted into your esophagus (food pipe). A transesophageal echocardiogram allows your cardiologist to acquire detailed pictures pertaining to the structure, function and any valvular heart disease that many be present. This procedure demonstrates your cardiac function in much greater detail than a standard transthoracic echocardiogram.

Prior to your procedure, you should not have any food or drink for 8-12 hours. In most cases, you will be able to take your home medications as scheduled. Your cardiologist / healthcare provider will advise you if there are any requirements to alter your medication schedule. Prior to your transesophageal echocardiogram, the technologist will insert an IV in your arm as a safety precaution to begin the test. This will allow sedation to be given to make you more comfortable during your procedure. During your procedure, you will be required to lie flat for approximately 30 minutes while the test is being completed. After your transesophageal echocardiogram, you will need to refrain from driving for approximately 12 hours and will need someone to accompany you home after the procedure. You can return to your normal activities the morning after your procedure.