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      New life saving program to begin in Midlands

      WEST COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Lexington Medical Center is implementing a new life saving program to combat the number one killer of men and women in South Carolina.

      They will hire heart surgeons and implement what they are calling one of the best cardiovascular programs in the country. Hospital staff say the new plans will improve health care and save lives.

      The hospital will parter with Duke Medicine in 2011 to build the program.

      Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States and South Carolina. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, one out of every three deaths is attributed to heart disease.

      Statistics show 337 people from Lexington County required open heart surgery in 2007. Staff say Lexington is the largest county in the state without an open heart surgery program.

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      Procedures included in Lexington Medical Center's new cardiovascular program will be open heart surgery, elective angioplasty and therapeutic catheterizations.

      Lexington Medical Center expects to begin its new cardiovascular program in 2011, with two heart surgeons and a team of nurses and staff with special training in cardiac care, including intensive post-surgery cardiac and pulmonary monitoring.

      The Lexington Medical Center is the second busiest Emergency Department in South Carolina, and they treat more than 94,000 patients every year.

      There are two heart centers currently established in the Midlands, one at Providence and another Palmetto Richland. Some argue that another heart hospital will dilute area funding and stretch the number of heart surgeons too thin, weakening all centers. Others say the addition will increase competition and create stronger practices at all three.

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