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Heart help at KGH

The new Outpatient Cardiac Services unit at Kelowna General Hospital has been open since the end of March, and now provides heart patients with improved access to care.

The expansion means that available space for services has increased by four times, to 24,000 square feet and has centralized services to KGH to include RACE, ECG/Holter, Pacemaker Atrial Fibrillation and Cardiac Echo clinics. It also houses the Regional Cardiac Catheterization Lab, with two new procedure rooms and space for a third room in the future.

In the past, patients were forced to visit multiple locations on the hospital grounds.

“I think the important thing is we have adjacency to the emergency departments where patients with heart attacks can get immediate care, and also adjacency to the helicopter pad,” says Kevin Pistawka, Division Chief of Cardiology at the hospital.

“It’s nice to have the money here in the Okanagan and not send them down to the coast like we did for many years and our patients appreciate that.”

The price tag for this new unit is $12.3M, and is part of the $381M Interior Heart and Surgical Centre scheduled to open next year. The province put up the majority of that money, to the tune of $296M, while the regional hospital district chipped in the rest.

“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,” says Interior Health Board Chair Norman Embree.

This new location and space will also benefit students who come through the department.

“I think this space has given us an opportunity to show our students what the world of cardiology is like and have the proper environment to do teaching,” adds Pistawka.

“That’s a very important aspect to the future for us.”

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