KELOWNA – Patients with heart conditions in the Southern Interior will have improved access to the highest levels of cardiac care with the official opening of the new Outpatient Cardiac Services unit at Kelowna General Hospital.
“The cardiologists at KGH provide expertise in complex cardiac care to the entire region – and that means patients in the Southern Interior will continue to be able to receive care closer to home, their families, and support base, without having to travel to the Lower Mainland,” said Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna.
The Outpatient Cardiac Services unit was previously housed in multiple locations in the Strathcona and Dr. Walter Anderson buildings. It is now located in renovated space in the Royal Building.
“The Outpatient Cardiac Services unit was redeveloped as part of the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre Project, and will support the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac patients from across Interior Health,” said Steve Thomson, MLA Kelowna-Mission. “By bringing all outpatient cardiac services together in an expanded and updated space, we will be able to realize efficiencies and improvements in patient care.”
The new unit increases the available space for outpatient cardiac services by four times, from approximately 6,000 square feet (557 square metres) in the old locations to 24,000 square feet (2230 square metres) in the new area. It includes RACE, ECG/Holter, Pacemaker, Atrial Fibrillation and Cardiac Echo clinics, as well as the Regional Cardiac Catheterization Lab, with two new procedure rooms and space for a future third room.
“This new unit will help provide even better cardiac care to those in need,” said Norm Letnick, MLA Kelowna-Lake Country. “The facility sees around 63,000 patient visits per year and approximately 2,800 cardiac angiogram procedures last year alone.”
The unit also experiences approximately 53,000 ECGs per year, 3,500 treadmill tests, 9,700 cardiac echo patients and 4,000 pacemaker patients.
“The specialized care provided by the 100 staff and physicians in the Outpatient Cardiac Services unit is an essential element of the cardiac revascularization and cardiac surgery programs at Interior Health, and will be an important part of providing the highest level of medical care ever seen in the Interior when the IHSC building opens,” said Interior Health Board Chair Norman Embree.
Interior Health began performing Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCIs, or angioplasties) at KGH in November 2009. A cardiac surgery program began performing open heart surgery in December 2012. The cardiac surgery program will move to the IHSC building when it opens in 2015.
Cost of the unit is $12.3 million and is a part of the $381-million Interior Heart and Surgical Centre, with $296 million provided by the provincial government and $85 million by the regional hospital district. The centre is scheduled to open in 2015.