New cardiac care clinic opens at Kelowna General Hospital

Dr. Kevin Pistawka, cardiology division chief at KGH, shows off one of the new catheterization labs in the new outpatient cardiac services unit at the hospital. - Alistair Waters/Capital News
Dr. Kevin Pistawka, cardiology division chief at KGH, shows off one of the new catheterization labs in the new outpatient cardiac services unit at the hospital.
— image credit: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Interior Health says patients with heart conditions in the Southern Interior will now have improved access to the highest levels of cardiac care thanks to the opening of its new outpatient cardiac services unit at Kelowna General Hospital.

"These are exciting time in cardiology at KGH," said Dr. Kevin Pistawka, cardiology division chief at hospital.

While the unit has been operating for about a month, Pistawka took the media on a tour Friday, highlighting the expanded space and improved technology now available in the unit, which is located close the hospital's new emergency department.

The treatments offered in the unit will be procedures where patients can typically go home the same day.

Relocated from a number of different site scattered around the hospital, the labs and clinics in the new unit will continue to be busy, say hospital officials.

The outpatient cardiac unit sees around 63,000 patient visits per year and approximately 2,800 cardiac angiogram procedures last year alone. It  also provides 53,000 ECGs per year, 3,500 treadmill tests, handles 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 chairman 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 new Interior Heart and Surgical Centre building when it opens in 2015.

The cost of the new outpatient unit, part of the $381 million IHSC project, was $12.3 million. The province is providing $296 million for the IHSC project, with another $85 million provided by the regional hospital district. The new unit increases the available space for outpatient cardiac services at KGH by four times, from approximately 557-square-metres in the old locations to 2,230-square-metres in the new area. It includes cardiac care clinics for programs such as RACE, ECG/Holter, pacemaker, atrial fibrillation and cardiac echo, as well as the regional cardiac catheterization lab, with two new procedure rooms and space for a future third room.

The outpatient cardiac services unit was previously housed in multiple locations in the Strathcona and Dr. Walter Anderson Buildings at KGH. It is now located in renovated space in the hospital's Royal Building.


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