On any given day residents of the Stony Brook-East Setauket area might see Luis Gruberg, MD, jogging along Route 25A. The road he traveled to Mather Hospital to become director of the new Cardiac Catheterization Lab was quite a bit longer, taking him from Bolivia to Israel, Maryland, Washington, DC and Long Island.

A native of Cochabamba, Bolivia, the son of parents who fled Europe during World War II, Dr. Gruberg graduated from the School of Medicine at the University of San Simon in that same city. At 25 years old, he emigrated to Israel where he worked for 20 years, completing a fellowship in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases, working at hospitals and teaching at the Sackler School of Medicine of Tel Aviv University. During this time period he took time off to do research as a Fogarty Fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD as part of the Human Genome Project. He later completed a fellowship in interventional cardiology at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC where he later became the director of clinical pharmacological trials.

Dr. Gruberg came to Southside Hospital –recently renamed South Shore University Hospital – in 2017 as the director of cardiovascular research for Eastern Long Island. This followed a career at Stony Brook where he served as the interim director of the division of cardiovascular diseases, director of the cardiac catheterization laboratories, director of the chest pain unit and director of research, interventional cardiology.  As part of the research endeavor at that institution, “I did a number of very important studies, all related to the cardiac catheterization lab, using new stents, stem cell research – it was a very active research division. Hopefully I will be able to bring all of that to Mather Hospital.”

Mather’s new cardiac catheterization lab is scheduled for a spring 2021 opening. “For a number of years Mather Hospital has been one of the accredited testing hospitals in the area, meaning that patients that have chest pain and a possible heart attack can go there and get high quality treatment,” he said. “However, one of missing blocks was that patients who were actually having a heart attack had to be transferred from Mather Hospital to another nearby hospital, most often Stony Brook. Mather knew that to provide better quality of care to their own patients and faster care for those patients having a heart attack, they needed a cardiac catheterization laboratory.”

Through the affiliation with Northwell Health, Mather received approval for the cardiac catheterization lab, which is composed of two units – one for coronary diagnostic and intervention procedures, which will open first. The second lab that will also be able to do  electrophysiology studies and procedures, including ablative therapies, device implants, cardioversions and diagnostic studies.

“What this is going to mean for the community is that patients having a heart attack can have access to a catheterization laboratory, where we can look for the artery that is closed and we can open it on the spot and restore blood flow to the heart and in that way prevent muscle damage,” he said. “I know the reputation that Mather has had for a long time. It’s a premier institution that delivers amazingly good care to the population in the area, and this will be one more addition.”