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FirstHealth of the Carolinas
Caring for the heart By Amy Avery



There will soon be a new hospital in Pinehurst. New patient rooms, advanced equipment and technology, and streamlined patient registration are just a few of the features of the FirstHealth Heart Institute.

By design, this four-story landmark of heart care will lead to even greater collaboration among cardiac specialists, and result in quicker treatment and faster recovery for patients. The addition of 23 patient rooms and six new operating rooms will have a significant impact on heart-related testing and treatment. New admitting procedures—in-room, bedside registration in particular—will change the hospital experience significantly for every patient.

“There’s very little by way of cardiology that we are not already doing, but this new hospital makes room for all the heart services a patient could need to be consolidated into one place,” says Stuart Voelpel, chief operating officer for FirstHealth of the Carolinas and president of Moore Regional.

Groundbreaking for the Heart Institute will occur in late summer or early fall, and completion is slated for 2010. Despite its location on the Moore Regional Hospital campus, the facility will function much like a separate hospital, with its own entrance and parking. Because it will be physically attached to Moore Regional, however, its staff and patients will have access to all the services of the main hospital.

State-of-the art care
“The fact that patients will not have to travel all over the hospital for various heart procedures and tests is significant,” says Roger Noble, R.N., MRH director of Cardiology Services, “but the two new hybrid operating-catheterization rooms will allow us to offer even more lifesaving services.”

Patients with the most severe blockages and those with multiple blockages will benefit greatly from these hybrid operating-catheterization rooms, which are among the most exciting changes the new facility will offer, hospital officials say. Found in only a few hospitals in the U.S., they will allow the physicians who perform cardiac surgery and those who open blockages through angioplasty or stents, for example, to treat patients in the same room at the same time. (See the related story on this page.)

Cardiothoracic surgeon John Krahnert, M.D., is excited about the opportunities the new hospital will afford the broad range of heart specialists on the medical staff. “You don’t see these kinds of opportunities very often,” he says. “As physicians, we’re often separated by our own offices and treatment areas. This hospital will allow us to work side by side, to collaborate closely on patient care. That’s why it’s so exciting.”

FirstHealth has long demonstrated its commitment to heart care, recruiting great surgical and diagnostic talent within a wide range of specialties and sponsoring the area’s first openheart surgery. The investment in the Heart Institute project will continue that path.

“When I first came to FirstHealth in 1990, I thought that open-heart surgery would be the biggest thing we would offer,” says Dr. Krahnert, who performed the hospital’s first such surgery nearly 18 years ago. “But this new facility will give physicians and patients the opportunity to be part of cutting-edge cardiac surgical procedures and cardiac catheterization interventions. It offers possibilities for even more groundbreaking work.”

The new four-story Heart Institute at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital will function much like a freestanding hospital.

Its features will include:

  • Designated parking and a separate, multistory lobby
  • Dedicated ambulance bay with direct access to specialized clinical areas
  • Six new state-of-the-art operating rooms and catheterization laboratories, including two “hybrid operating rooms” unlike any in the state (See the related story below for details.)
  • Twenty-three cardiology/telemetry beds

Patient conveniences will include:

  • Shorter wait time for diagnostic procedures
  • Reserved rooms with beside check-in n Access to the full services of the main hospital, which shares an internal entryway

Construction plans:

  • Start date: late summer or fall 2008
  • Completion date: 2010

The new Heart Institute at FirstHealth Moore Regional will offer treatment options available in fewer than 50 other hospitals across the United States.

“The crowning jewel of our new Heart Institute will be the two ‘hybrid’ operatingcatheterization rooms, a one-stop spot for patients who have multiple heart blockages,” says Roger Noble, R.N., director of Cardiology Services.

If a patient undergoing a heart bypass also needs angioplasty to open blockages (or vice versa), each physician specialist can perform the procedures right away, Noble says. Hybrid operating rooms are specifically designed to accommodate each physician and the special equipment required for the intricate procedures.

“There will be no need to make another appointment or transport our patient to another room or another floor,” says Noble. “This will help us save more lives.”