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New vascular centre at Calgary hospital addresses 5-year-old ‘crisis’

Dr. Paul Petrasek shows the scope equipment in the new hyprid operating room at Monday's opening of the Vascular Centre of Excellence. Provided by AHS

CALGARY – Alberta Health Services opened a new facility at Calgary’s Peter Lougheed Centre Monday, hoping to solve a crisis brought to light by area physicians over five years ago.

Vascular surgeons treat diseases of the arteries and veins. An October 2010 publication from Calgary and area medical staff called “Vascular surgery in crisis,” said surgeons use medical therapy, minimally invasive catheter procedures, and major open surgical reconstruction to treat such diseases. It said 40 per cent of vascular procedures are urgent or emergent in any given month.

“Rapid growth of the referral population has not been met with infrastructure and equipment improvement,” wrote Dave Lowery. “Vascular surgeons work in ambulatory clinics at PLC that lack capacity to deal with present volumes of ~5000 patient visits per year. Working without any dedicated staff or space, there is no comprehensive care offered to high-risk patients, including diabetic foot care, smoking cessation or other risk factor modification.”

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The report’s calls for better infrastructure, equipment and clinical support seem to have been answered in Monday’s announcement of the first phase of the redeveloped Vascular Center of Excellence at PLC.

The redevelopment includes a large inpatient area, increased outpatient services and two new hybrid operating suites which will be available for use later in November. The suites include medical imaging devices that support both complex and minimally invasive procedures.

Alberta Health Services said in a release the project is set to be finished next year, and will then have capacity to:

  • Increase the number of annual vascular surgeries at the Alberta Health Services (AHS) hospital from 900 to 1,300, a 44 per cent improvement;
  • More than double the number of annual outpatient visits from 7,200 to 15,000;
  • Add eight additional inpatient beds for a total of 40.

“The 2,500-sq.-metre, $32.6-million project – funded by the Calgary Health Trust and the Government of Alberta – is designed to treat patients in a more inclusive and comprehensive way,” said the release.

Vascular disease refers to conditions that affect the circulatory system, such as aortic aneurysms (enlarged section of the wall of the aorta), arterial occlusive disease (slow narrowing of the arteries) and carotid artery disease (narrowing of the arteries).

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“The new Vascular Centre of Excellence is designed to facilitate efficient care by bringing together caregivers in one location who can offer everything from vascular disease prevention to the most extensive types of vascular surgeries using the newest, least invasive techniques,” said Dr. Paul Petrasek, head of AHS’ Vascular Surgery section in a release.

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