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Hi-Tech Vascular Center Opens
July 3, 2010 @ 1:49pm | Rodika Tollefson
The 10,500-square-foot center, located on the Bremerton campus, will include a cardiac catheterization lab, an electrophysiology lab and 12 care beds, among other features.
The goal of the Heart & Vascular Center is to build the leading cardiovascular program in the state “with advanced technology, progressive new services and highly skilled caregivers,” according to Harrison officials.
The space was previously occupied by the behavioral health unit, which was closed earlier. The center was designed using the “Lean” approach, intended to reduce steps and increase efficiency. (Lean principles, pioneered by Henry Ford and, in modern day, by Toyota, comprise a business system that helps implement lean practices and principles for more efficient operations by identifying value to the end customer and eliminating workflow waste through a series of steps.)
One of the advantages of the center will be the additional space it will make available for various needs, from patient care to employee areas. It will also bring the procedures and pre — and post-op care under one roof.
“Right now, we sometimes admit anywhere we can because we don’t have the space,” Shock said. “The demand is growing. Our volume is up from last year quite a bit.”
Currently, Harrison has 2,800 cases per year, adding 300 new cases per year for the past couple of years.
Harrison serves cardiovascular patients not only from all over the Kitsap Peninsula but also from the Olympic Peninsula and other areas, from a total of five counties.
“This is it for the peninsulas. If you have a heart attack, this is where you come,” said Mary Berglind, clinic administrator for Kitsap Cardiology Consultants. She said that in addition to growing demand, there are more complex cardiovascular procedures being performed, and the center will be able to accommodate those.
“The new vascular center is set up to be more flexible during procedures to be able to change the strategy or approach, when we need to, on the fly,” said Dr. Nathan Segerson, electrophysiologist with Kitsap Cardiology Consultants and the only cardiologist on the Kitsap Peninsula who specializes in electrophysiology, which treats rhythm abnormalities of the heart.
Where in the past rhythm abnormalities could rarely be treated permanently, modern mapping technology allows computers to map out “where electricity is going wrong and cauterize the area” that causes the problem, Segerson said. Interventional heart specialists are also able to use pacemakers and automatic defibrillators to restore heart rhythms.
“The new lab is equipped with all the major technology available in the broad field of electrophysiology,” Segerson said.
Open-heart surgeries will be continued to be performed in its current place, on another floor of the hospital. But more and more heart patients these days are treated with less invasive procedures in an outpatient setting, such as those available through the heart and vascular center.
“It’s more percutaneous (intervention) now than it used to be,” said Dr. Satyavardhan Pulukurthy, cardiologist with Kitsap Cardiology Consultants. “For example, we can stent several arteries now instead of doing a bypass (surgery).”
The new facility is not expected to have significant impact on lowering the so-called “door-to-balloon” time (a term referring to the time it takes to perform a lifesaving balloon angioplasty or coronary intervention). Harrison’s door-to-balloon time is already at under 60 minutes, 30 minutes faster than the recommended national goal, ranking the hospital second in the state.
The technology at the new center will have the best imaging available as well as allow for less contrast to be used during vascular procedures, Pulukurthy said. “It’s safer for the patients. It can also do other parts of the body besides the heart,” he said. “Right now, we have to transfer from one room to another for different body systems.”
The center was designed with growth in mind. A future phase could entail the addition of more procedure and patient rooms, as demand grows, although currently Harrison officials have no solid plans for an expansion.
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