Mercy Medical Center offered its Valentine’s Day gift to the community at the grand opening celebration of the new $2.5 million dollar Mercy Heart and Vascular Center. The new center will offer specialized, state-of-the-art, cardiac care to patients having heart testing and procedures.
“It’s our goal to offer the people of Northwest Arkansas the best cardiac care right at their doorstep,” said Scott Street, Mercy of Northwest Arkansas president/CEO. “This new center is designed to make a difficult situation easier by giving heart patients just one location to come and have all their needs, from testing to procedures, handled as efficiently and expertly as possible.”
The heart and vascular center now has its own second floor entrance. Inside there is an 11-bed pre and post procedure unit dedicated specifically to cardiac patients. There is also an additional cardiac catheterization lab. This brings the total at the center to four. The new cath lab includes Arkansas’ first robotic C-arm. The $1.3 million Artis Zeego is the first such device in the state and one of less than ten in the nation. It is part of a new hybrid catheterization lab.
Also part of the expansion is a new cardiac imaging suite, a one-stop shop for patients needing cardiac tests. It includes two nuclear medicine cameras dedicated to cardiac patients, five echocardiogram machines, two nuclear stress rooms and one echo stress room. The price tag on phase one of the project is approximately $2.5 million.
Up next is phase two of the project. It will be the external enhancements to the Heart and Vascular Center. The first thing visitors to the hospital will notice is work on a second floor bridge connector from the Mercy Physicians Plaza to the new hospital entrance. This new architectural feature will join the hospital and the physician plaza together from the ground level to the second floor. It will allow easy access from the Mercy Heart and Vascular clinic offices to the new heart and vascular center.
Phase two construction will also include a more convenient patient discharge exit and additional patient parking closer to the building specifically for cardiac patients. Work on the external enhancements is expected to be complete in summer 2011. The cost on this phase is $3 million bringing total project cost to an estimated $5.5 million.
Mercy’s commitment to excellence in cardiac care also includes a three-year accreditation as a Chest Pain Center with PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC) , a non-profit international society dedicated to improving care for patients with acute coronary syndromes - heart attacks. Only ten percent of hospitals nationwide the size of Mercy of Northwest Arkansas has achieved this level of accreditation.
Mercy also recently became a Society of Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE) center of excellence. This heart attack prevention and early detection program is an effort to reduce heart attacks and sudden cardiac death in our area. The program is centered on coronary calcium scoring – a painless, noninvasive five minute test to check for the presence of calcium in the coronary arteries. It is delivered using a 64-slice CT scanner. The calcium scoring test will show early stage coronary artery disease (CAD) before a person develops the symptoms of heart disease. By catching CAD early through calcium scoring, preventative measures can be taken to reduce the risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death.