May 23, 2014 9:32 pm

WATCH: Cardiac Unit Expands


It’s another major step in providing the highest cardiac care in this region that will turn Kelowna into the hub of cardiology care in all of BC’s Interior.

As construction continues on the new heart and surgical centre at the Kelowna General Hospital, Interior Health is showcasing the completion of the latest phase. It’s a new expanded outpatient cardiac unit.

The new unit is part of the 381 million dollar heart and surgical centre being built at KGH.

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The new outpatient cardiac unit in the newly renovated Royal building is now all in one place. The old unit was spread across many different parts of the hospital. It’s also four times the size of the old unit.

As the space grows so too does the number of patients, many of them from out of town.

“As we become a big centre we are seeing patients from Golden, Vanderhoof, Quensel, Revelstoke, Princeton, Merritt,” says cardiologist Dr. Kevin Pistawka.

The increase in patients is the result of the expansion of cardiac services being offered here.

“It’s been a process and evolution. We were not doing angioplasty procedures three years ago. In the past we did diagnostic angiograms. We would take a picture and say you have a problem you have to go to Vancouver,” says Pistawka.

Those days are over with more cardiac procedures being done here every year.

“Three thousand angiogram procedures a year, about one thousand angioplasty procedures a year, we are looking at about 600 to 800 open heart surgeries a year ,” says Pistawka.

The new 24-thousand square foot outpatient cardiac unit includes a regional catheterization lab, cardiac echo and pacemaker clinics as well as two new procedure rooms and space for a future third room. It’s also conveniently situated.

“One of the benefits of having this space is it’s adjacent to the emergency department and new helicopter pad. There are many patients who have a heart attack in peripheral area and they are in trouble and they need immediate attention,” says Pistawka.

The unit is also across the street from the new building that will house the interior heart and surgical centre. Once completed, the two will be connected with a pedestrian overpass

“We are in position to be recognized as one of the leading centers for our size in Canada we will never replace the large hospital in Toronto and never do high end transplants that needs expertise like at St. Pauls Hospital in Vancouver but for population we have we want to be looked at as a centre of excellence,” says Pistawka.

The new heart and surgical centre is expected to be up and running sometime next year.

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