Anderson Hospital is working on a 5,400-square-foot expansion of its cardiac catheterization lab facilities. A ribbon cutting is anticipated in spring 2015.
The cardiac catheterization lab is a specialized service providing both diagnostic and interventional cardiology procedures. Nearly 1,000 procedures were performed in the lab in both 2011 and 2012; these included diagnostic heart catheterization, balloon angioplasty and stent placement, including cardiac and peripheral stenting.
“Heart disease still remains the number one cause of death in the United States,” said Bill Rodgers, director of cardiovascular services at Anderson. “But treatments have evolved and medication management and preventive measures have all improved dramatically over the years.”
The problem is that many people don’t realize they have heart disease. According to the Heart Foundation, nearly 1 million Americans will have heart attacks this year and half of them will experience no prior symptoms or warning signs.
Coronary artery disease or cardiovascular disease is a condition in which plaque, which is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances in the blood, builds up inside the coronary arteries which supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. This plaque build-up is called atherosclerosis. A plaque can grow large enough to reduce or completely block blood flow through an artery. More frequently, a plaque may rupture, causing a blood clot to form that either blocks the artery or breaks off and travels somewhere else in the body causing a blockage at another site. When the blockage takes place in a blood vessel that feeds the heart, the result is a heart attack possibly resulting in death.
During a heart attack, a person may feel pain in the middle of the chest which can spread to the back, neck, jaw or arms. The pain may also be felt only in the back, neck, jaw or arms rather than the chest.
It is important to note that approximately 1 out of every 3 people who have heart attacks do not feel any chest pain. Many of these are women, non-Caucasian, older than 75, have heart failure or diabetes or have had a stroke.
“There are still a large number of folks who come in who don’t know they have heart disease until they become symptomatic with it,” Rodgers said. “Our cardiac cath lab patients range from those who come into the emergency room having an acute heart attack to those who come in as an outpatient for elective procedures and have had a negative outcome with a stress test. If an abnormality shows up on their stress test, we take them to the cardiac cath lab to try to pinpoint the problem.”
Rodgers said that the problem of heart disease is growing with the aging of the Baby Boom population. In response, Anderson opened a chest pain center in 2011 and started an interventional cardiac cath program in which cardiac teams are on call 24/7 and can respond any time an emergency arises. The lab’s patient volume has grown every year since the lab opened in 2006. It’s made a big difference for the community,” Rodgers said.
This new project will move the cath lab out of the Surgery Department to the third floor of Professional Office Building I which is attached to the hospital.
“We’re building two side-by-side suites,” Rodgers said. “What’s really going to be great about this is that, we will be able to continue performing routine cardiac procedures and address emergencies simultaneously--without delay. “We’ll be able to address the emergency immediately.”
The project will also include a new digital imaging system that will allow for greater versatility and is capable of performing an increasingly wide variety of complex procedures. In addition to providing cardiac and peripheral procedures, the new labs will enhance existing procedural capabilities such as pacemakers and implantable defibrillators.
Such an expansion of space requires an addition of manpower. Rodgers said that two vascular surgeons were recently added to the hospital staff and there are plans to bring in another cardiologist, a radiology technician and add some nursing hours.
“We’re very fortunate to have a group of excellent cardiologists on staff here at Anderson,” Rodgers said.