Hospital Checkups: St. Elizabeth Healthcare builds its new heart care and research facility

EDGEWOOD, Ky. - The Tri-State is home to major hospitals engaged in a wide range of treatment, research and innovative activities. In our "Hospital Checkups" series, WCPO asks each hospital to pick one thing it is doing new or differently in 2014.

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St. Elizabeth Healthcare

New Heart and Vascular Institute

Next year at this time, you’ll notice an impressive new sight on the campus of St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood: its new Heart and Vascular Institute.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women, and someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds.

Cardiovascular disease is a significant problem for people in the Northern Kentucky area.

“It affects their well-being, health, ability to work, and the length of their lives, and it’s something that has to be addressed,” said Victor Schmelzer, MD, Interim Medical Director of St. Elizabeth Healthcare Heart and Vascular Institute.

The Heart and Vascular Institute will be a state-of-the-art facility where specialists work collaboratively to care for patients.

Ultimately, it will include:

  • a hybrid operating room which allows doctors to perform both minimally invasive treatments and cardiac surgery
  • an electrophysiology lab where specialists use advanced technologies to treat abnormal heart rhythm
  • advanced cardiac MRI and 320-slice CT scanning which allows doctors to assess the patient’s heart health without being invasive

A key element of the institute will be an active cardiovascular research program. St. Elizabeth will engage in a joint clinical research project with the Mayo Clinic Network to investigate, through genetic testing, what blood thinners will work best for patients who are going to have stents placed in their arteries.

Finally, the Heart and Vascular Institute will look for innovative ways to educate people about healthy diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits.

Groundbreaking for the Heart & Vascular Institute took place in November, and it should be finished in the spring of 2015.

Editor's note: On Wednesday "Hospital Checkups" visits The Christ Hospital, where heart health is also a major focus. A major initiative allows doctors are performing a new, minimally-invasive procedure to treat heart valve patients.

Video by Mark Bowen of Mark Bowen Media  and reporting by Gretchen MacKnight.

Watch the "Hospital Checkups" series

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