The $40 million expansion of The Cardiac Centers of Mercy & Unity Hospitals reaches a significant milestone this week with the opening of the most technologically advanced cardiovascular catheterization laboratories in Minnesota.
The new catheterization laboratories, as well as 24 new inpatient rooms and 14 short-stay rooms, are part of a major expansion of the Heart Center at Allina’s Mercy Hospital that began in January 2003. While the entire facility won’t be completed until June, construction was planned to allow the hospital to begin utilizing the new space as it is finished.
“The Heart Center offers our patients the very best in cardiac care,” said Dr. Stephen Remole, medical director of The Cardiac Centers. “It also allows us to expand our capabilities for teaching, research and our continued work with new technologies and procedures.”
Catheterization laboratories, or cath labs, are specially equipped rooms where doctors perform a vast array of minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat a variety of cardiovascular diseases. The new center features five state-of-the-art labs, with another shelled in for expansion. Two labs are dedicated to electrophysiology, a cardiac specialty to treat the heart’s electrical systems. All five labs are equipped for coronary interventions - the process of opening blocked blood vessels.
Other highlights of the expansion include:
Demand for cardiac services has increased significantly since the cardiac program began in 1985.
- The first floor features a two-story lobby atrium entrance. It also includes patient registration, the Peripheral Vascular Clinic, expanded clinical space for Metropolitan Cardiology Consultants, a cardiovascular family waiting area, and the Center for Women’s Cardiovascular Health. Computer technology in the waiting area will help families track their loved one through surgery or the cardiac catheterization lab.
- The second floor features noninvasive cardiovascular testing, such as pulmonary testing, echocardiography, EKG, Holter and stress tests. Structurally, the second floor will be open to the lobby below, providing an abundance of natural light and open space.
- In addition to the cath labs, the third floor will house a scanner for magnetic resonance angiography. The floor also has fourteen private short-stay rooms, geared to the needs of pre- and post- cardiovascular procedures and will be available to outpatients. Two of the 14 private rooms on the third floor will be set up as a sleep study lab for sleep-related breathing difficulties, such as sleep apnea.
- The fourth floor includes a 24-bed inpatient unit. Twelve rooms are designed for critical care, receiving cardiac surgical patients direct from the operating room. These rooms make it easier for the patient and family by eliminating confusing transfers from surgery to the Intensive Care Unit immediately following surgery and back to the cardiovascular unit the next day.
The hospitals serve a major part of the north metro including Anoka and Sherburne counties, which are among the fastest growing counties in the state. Demand for cardiovascular services for people over age 45 is expected to increase almost 20 percent in the next three years. In 2003, more than 60,000 cardiac procedures were performed at the centers. According to the Minnesota Hospital Association, The Cardiac Centers have treated more patients from the 11 county metro area over the past four years than any other hospital.
“The need for additional space and facility improvements became evident in recent years as The Cardiac Centers have grown to become one of the largest cardiovascular programs in Minnesota,” said Philip Patterson, vice president of cardiology, Mercy & Unity Hospitals. “We needed to expand capacity and technology to care for patients now and into the future.”
A public open house is planned for August 6.
The Cardiac Centers of Mercy & Unity Hospitals provide a full range of screening, prevention, diagnostic, intervention, surgical, and rehabilitation services, as well as a variety of health improvement, education and patient/family support activities. In collaboration with physicians and community partners, The Cardiac Centers coordinates every patient experience along a continuum of care, providing award winning health care with uncompromising personal service.
The Cardiac Centers are recognized as a leader in cardiovascular services. The program was named one of the top 100 cardiac programs in the nation by Solucient. U.S. News and World Report cited the hospital as one of the top 50 in the nation for respiratory care. HealthGrades, a national firm that grades the performance of U.S. hospitals, ranked the program among the top 10 in the state for overall cardiac services.