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KGH reaches heart surgery milestone

An important health-care milestone was reached yesterday with the completion of the 100th open heart surgery at Kelowna General Hospital.

Cardiac surgery was previously only performed at four hospitals in British Columbia: Royal Columbian Hospital, Royal Jubilee Hospital, St. Paul's Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital.

"Today is a great day to reflect on how much work has gone into developing this program and the improvements in care it has brought to people who live throughout the Interior," says Norman Embree, chair of the Interior Health board.

"We look forward to the hundreds of surgeries that will be done in the coming months and years and the positive benefits they will bring to the lives of southern interior patients and their families."

Dr. Guy Fradet, Dr. Calvin Wan and Dr. Ahmad Poostizadeh have been performing cardiac surgeries at Kelowna General Hospital since Dec. 3, 2012 at a rate of about two per day.

"We've done procedures on patients from Trail to Peachland, from Kamloops, the Shuswap and Vernon, and even Prince George, Quesnel and Williams Lake," says Fradet, medical director of the Interior Health Cardiac Surgery Program.

"This is an Interior Health-wide program that is bringing a very patient- and family-centred approach to cardiac care, prevention and health promotion."

The surgeries are taking place in two renovated operating rooms at Kelowna General Hospital while the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre is being constructed.

The centre is scheduled to open in mid 2015.

Approximately 600 cardiac surgeries per year are expected to be performed at Kelowna General Hospital, ensuring patients do not have to travel as far from their families to receive care.

In 2009, Kelowna General Hospital also became the first hospital outside of the Lower Mainland and Victoria to perform percutaneous coronary interventions, or angioplasties.

Since the program started in November 2009, over 3,000 procedures have been performed.

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