A new cardiac catheterization suite, or cardiac cath lab, at the QEII Health Sciences Centre accepted its first patients on December 19, 2017. This cardiac cath lab was built to the standards of a modern operating room, with dramatically improved technologies and infrastructure, improving the safety of patients and staff alike. The image quality of its X-ray equipment is outstanding. And all of this is thanks to a community of donors who, together, supported heart health care for Atlantic Canadians.

The heart health team is responsible for affairs of the heart, from simple diagnoses to the placing of stents and treatment of heart attacks. They are the referral centre for all of Nova Scotia in such matters, as well as stretches of New Brunswick and much of Prince Edward Island. Their labours depend upon four cardiac cath labs, giving them an X-ray-assisted view of a patient’s heart for their decidedly delicate work.

The team was met with an untimely setback when one of these labs reached the end of its lifespan and routine maintenance failed to sharpen its fleeting images.

“While we faced an immediate challenge, we were able to continue patient care with the help of our QEII colleagues,” says Anthony Wiseman, health services manager for the cath labs.

With 5,800 patients passing through the cath labs annually, this lab’s loss had to be remedied quickly. A similar lab elsewhere in the QEII was made available part-time but this was a temporary fix.

When the cardiac cath lab went out of service, the QEII Foundation was in the midst of its From the Heart campaign. While replacing the aging cardiac cath lab was the highlight of this campaign, the need became more immediate than anticipated. In one short year, the From the Heart campaign raised $4.5-million from a community of donors whose philanthropic support will impact the thousands of Atlantic Canadians who require life-saving cardiac and vascular care.

“To have the cardiac cath lab back in service with new technology is exciting and a huge relief,” says Anthony.

Dr. Hussein Beydoun, QEII cardiac cath lab director, and Dr. Tony Lee, associate director, fully expect their newest addition, given its exceptionalism, will be critical for care, particularly for emergencies and after hours. With approximately 1,600 to 1,700 patients expected to benefit from these new facilities annually, and the improvements it offers to wait times, he can stand by some simple arithmetic.

“In its lifetime, about 25,000 patients will be treated in that lab,” says Dr. Beydoun. “Without any doubt, it will save lots of those lives.”

While there is much to celebrate, the QEII Foundation has its sights set on pushing heart health care even further.

Phase two of the From the Heart campaign will create Atlantic Canada’s first hybrid operating room, establish an Impact Fund that will advance technology and equipment, and continue to grow the Maritime Heart Centre Innovation Fund to fuel more research and innovation. The campaign goal is $5.75 million.

To donate to the From the Heart campaign or see a virtual tour of the new cardiac cath lab, visit BringHybridToTheQE2.ca or call 1 888 428 0220.