Cardiac Catheter Suite
There is a particularly high incidence of heart disease in Medway and Swale. In order to better serve the needs of the local population there was a significant development to provide a major new department. Designed using state of the art equipment and cutting edge technology, the cardiac catheter suite opened in August 2005 at a cost of approximately £2 million.
The hospital received funding from the New Opportunities Fund, part of the National Lottery, to purchase the equipment needed to carry out the angiography procedure (a test that uses an injection of a liquid dye to make the arteries easily visible on x-rays). These items had a capital cost of approximately £750.000. The Strategic Health Authority provided further funds of around £1.2 million to enable an existing area of the hospital to be converted to form the new Cardiac Catheter Suite.
Procedures carried out in the suite include cardiac angiograms and angioplasties (a technique of mechanically widening a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel) both as day cases and emergencies – the insertion of cardiac pacemakers, 'box changes' and the replacement of pacemakers at the end of their battery life. Most of the pacemaker related procedures are now performed as day cases. We are also able to insert Bi Ventricular pacemakers (devices used to treat people with heart failure) and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) devices (a patient may need a ICD if they have had, or are at high risk of having, certain life-threatening heart rhythm problems).
Trans-oesophageal echocardiography (a procedure which involves taking detailed pictures of the heart from the oesophagus, which lies behind the heart) and cardioversions (where electrical energy is delivered to the heart to convert an abnormal heart rhythm back to a normal rhythm) are also carried out.
Previously, patients from the Medway and Swale areas needing an angiogram or angioplasty would have travelled to central London for these procedures. This entailed a long, anxious and distressing journey for both the patient and their relatives or friends. Many patients on arriving at Medway’s cardiac catheter suite have commented on the ease of the arrangements for their admission as well as their discharge.