For heart patients in Damoh, India, the closest cardiac center is seven hours away by car.

That will change soon, as Prairie Heart Institute and HSHS St. John’s Hospital donate a cardiac catherization lab to be set up in Damoh, which has a metro area of several million people.

Cath labs allow doctors to use diagnostic imaging equipment to look for abnormalities in a patient’s heart. The procedure can be life-saving during a cardiac event, allowing severe blockages to be treated with a stent.

The donation is in partnership with Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach and Central India Christian Mission.

“This cath lab that Prairie and St. John’s Hospital are donating to Central India Christian Mission Hospital in Damoh has the potential to improve and prolong the lives of thousands of people,” said Dr. Nilesh Goswami, cath lab director at Prairie Heart Institute.

According to HSHS, Goswami and his wife, Monica, visited Damoh recently to meet with leaders from the mission’s hospital and were inspired to meet the community’s need.

“There are so many people in India dealing with heart disease, and what’s concerning is that these people don’t have access to cardiology specialists who can help them,” said Goswami. “During my trip, the mission hospital arranged for me to offer cardiology services in Damoh. I was amazed that more than 400 people with cardiology problems showed up in one day to be seen by me. The patients that I was able to see were very ill and needed a higher level of cardiology care.”

Dr. Charles Lucore, president and CEO of HSHS St. John’s Hospital and board chair of Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach, told Goswami that St. John’s is getting a new cath lab, and the existing one could be donated to the hospital in Damoh.

“We are so glad to be able to help the millions of people in Damoh who haven’t had access to cardiology care through Mission Outreach,” Lucore said, adding that Mission Outreach has shipped millions of pieces of medical equipment to 87 developing countries since its inception in 2002.

The lab is packed inside a 40-foot shipping container, which will cost $50,000 to ship to Damoh. A GoFundMe page has been set up to accept donations for shipping the cath lab.

“We’ve never shipped an entire cath lab before, but we are eager to make it happen,” Lucore said. “We just need some community support to get this donation to Damoh.”