By Kelly Tracer
UCHealth is expanding its array of heart services in Fort Collins with the addition of a second cardiac catheterization lab at Poudre Valley Hospital.
“UCHealth is committed to providing the very best care to our patients, and I am thrilled that we are able to continue to expand what we have to offer our patients here at PVH,” said Kevin Unger, president and CEO of PVH.
Crews are already building the new first-floor cath lab, which will be unveiled in late fall, according to Rob Wagner, UCHealth’s senior director of cardiovascular services in northern Colorado.
A cath lab is a special procedure space where physicians use catheters – tiny, flexible tubes – used instead of surgery to access the heart and blood vessels. Specialized diagnostic imaging equipment is used to see the arteries and chambers of the heart and gauge how well blood is flowing to and from the heart.
The second cath lab will boost the hospital’s capacity to treat patients with emergencies, like heart attacks, where immediate care is needed to diagnose and clear blocked arteries. The new addition also will enable UCHealth to offer certain electrophysiology procedures in Fort Collins for the first time.
One of the most common electrophysiology procedures that will be offered at PVH when the second cath lab opens is cardiac ablation, a procedure that is used to treat irregular heartbeat and atrial fibrillation. During this highly specialized procedure, catheters are inserted through the veins in a patient’s groin and extended to the heart. Electrodes on the end of the catheters record the heart’s electrical signals and identify the regions where abnormal heart rhythms originate. Other catheters are then used to freeze and cauterize the problem areas to restore a normal heart rhythm.
The electrophysiology treatments at PVH will be conducted by the same board-certified cardiac electrophysiologists who offer the procedures at UCHealth Heart and Vascular Center at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, which is the largest electrophysiology program in the region and one of the largest in Colorado.
Dr. Russell Heath is one of the experts who be caring for patients in the new cath lab at PVH. He has seen UCHealth’s electrophysiology program in northern Colorado – as well as the demand for electrophysiology treatments throughout the nation – grow tremendously in recent years as technological advancements have expanded the options for patients with arrhythmia.
“Patients and families should know that when it comes to complex arrhythmia care, they are not alone,” Heath said. “There is almost always something we can do to improve their condition and in many cases alleviate the arrhythmia completely. The UCHealth cardiac electrophysiology team is run by seven full-time cardiac electrophysiologists, and we are excited to bring our years of experience in northern Colorado close to home for our patients who live in and around Fort Collins.”