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St. Paulís Hospital opens $5.25-million Heart Centre expansion

VANCOUVER Ė St. Paulís Hospital has expanded its Heart Centre with an investment of $5.25 million in new resources.

The renovation and expansion will improve access for patients who need specialized diagnostic, therapeutic and device implantation procedures, particularly related to rhythm disturbances of the heart. This will allow many patients to be treated sooner, and, in some cases, shorten their stay in hospital.

With the renovations, St. Paulís Hospital will have the capacity to perform up to 30 percent more EP procedures, cardiac catheterization procedures and cardiac device implantations. As well, the expanded capacity will free up almost seven weeks of operating and recovery room time that can be used for other surgical procedures.

This improved service for patients from across the province was made possible by $2.9 million from the St. Paulís Hospital Foundation for equipment and $ 2.35 million from Vancouver Coastal Health for the renovated space.

ďThese renovations will ensure that the latest medical advances are available to B.C. patients with heart conditions. Providence Health Care, Vancouver Coastal Health and our other partners in healthcare are committed to ensuring that B.C.ís cardiac patients have the best technologies and treatment options available,Ē said Dr. Ron Carere, Physician Director of the St. Paulís Heart Centre.

Over the past decade, research and evolving technology have made it possible for cardiac specialists to provide new or better treatments for patients with many heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems and congestive heart failure.

For example, cardiologists who specialize in electrophysiology can help patients with some types of abnormal heart rhythms by mapping out and selectively eliminating, or ablating, the electrical area of the heart that is causing the problem. These patients previously required a lifetime of medication. The renovated areas of the Heart Centre will be equipped with the latest heart rhythm mapping technology required to do these procedures.

As well, rapidly increasing numbers of patients are receiving highly advanced electrical devices, such as implantable cardiac defibrillators.

The new Electrophysiology suite and renovated Cardiac Procedure room will be equipped for:

ē Electrophysiology mapping to diagnose and treat selective fast heart rhythm problems that once required a lifetime of medication or were resistant to medication.
ē Pacemaker insertion that enables patients who have received temporary pacemakers to receive their permanent pacemakers and leave hospital sooner
ē Insertion of implantable defibrillators, an electrical device capable of detecting life threatening disturbances in the heart rhythm and restoring it to normal with an electric shock, saving the patient from sudden death
ē Heart biopsies to take tiny samples of heart tissue for diagnostic purposes; one of the important tests for heart transplant rejection
ē Transesophageal echocardiography, which is a diagnostic ultrasound test that provides an exceptionally detailed view of the chambers of the heart

Established in 1994 with the help of $10 million raised by St. Paulís Hospital Foundation, the Heart Centre has built an international reputation for its work in the prevention of heart disease and the care, treatment and support of people living with heart conditions.

As the largest and most comprehensive cardiac care program in British Columbia, St. Paulís serves a number of unique patient populations and many of the provinceís most complex and difficult cardiac cases. Its services include everything from heart attack prevention programs and open-heart surgery to unique programs such as heart transplantation, the Pacific Adult Congenital Heart Clinic, and mechanical support (ventricular assist devices) for patients with severe heart failure.

As a University of British Columbia-affiliated teaching hospital, St. Paulís serves as a training facility for cardiac professionals, and is a leader in heart disease research, both in the laboratory and in the clinic.

St. Paulís is part of Providence Health Care, which also includes Mount Saint Joseph Hospital, Holy Family Hospital, St. Vincentís Hospitals (Langara and Brock Fahrni) and Youville Residence. Providence is Canadaís largest faith-based healthcare organization.