In January 2015, a dream came true for Dr. Eric Janis of North Carolina Heart & Vascular.
That’s when Johnston Health began offering percutaneous coronary interventions, called PCI for short. This group of procedures, most notably stenting, opens narrowed or blocked arteries, thus restoring blood flow to the heart and preventing heart attacks.
A few years earlier, Janis was among hospital, community and government leaders who came together to press for changes in state medical regulations, ultimately paving the way for Johnston Health to offer the life-saving procedures.
“Among our physicians and communities, stenting had been the number one request,” said Janis, now vice chairman of the Johnston Health Board of Directors. “It was the critical piece missing from our cardiovascular services.”
Johnston’s medical community had no doubt about the need for PCI. Heart disease is the number one killer in the county County, followed by cancer and stroke. Among all counties, Johnston is second in the rate of heart disease, according to a just-released health-needs assessment.
On Sept. 1, the Johnston Health Foundation will host an open house of the First Citizens Bank Catheterization Lab, which has positioned the hospital in Smithfield to handle the growing volume of stenting cases.
The bank was the largest and first major donor, with a $250,000 gift to the foundation’s naming-rights campaign. Other donors include Janis, the medical staff, hospital administrators, members of the foundation and a sorority chapter. All will be recognized at the open house.
For his part, Janis is a passionate voice for the hospital and its cardiology program.
In addition to the modern cath lab with its dedicated holding and recovery area, he points to expanded services in electrophysiology and new procedures for the treatment of congestive heart failure.
“I’ve always been gratified to work here and to have the support of the community,” Janis said. “My goal has been to develop a hospital with academic quality in a community-hospital setting. This is a step toward providing cardiology services that rival any place in the country.”
If you’re interested having a space in the cath lab named in honor of a family member, a civic group or company, call Sol Halliburton, director of the Johnston Health Foundation, at 919-938-7169. The naming-rights campaign will close Aug. 1.