Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) has made a giant leap in cardiac care with the installation of three new state-of-the-art interventional cardiac catheterization (cath) labs.

At the heart of the new cath labs is the Philips Azurion imaging system. This advanced technology helps to optimize patient comfort and enables physicians to provide an advanced level of care for their patients.

PMC Medical Director of the Cath Lab and Interventional Cardiologist, Muhammad Ahmad, MD said, “These labs will equip us to provide almost everything available in the world of cardiology, now and many years to come.”

The PMC team of specialists can now perform a wider range of minimally invasive diagnostic and interventional cardiovascular procedures in a patient focused environment, many that have never been offered at PMC before.

PMC Cath Lab Manager, Johnny Webb said, “We are going to be doing some higher risk procedures along with the cardio thoracic surgeons going forward. Procedures that are done in much larger cities will be available to our patients, right here at home.”

If a high risk patient needs additional care during a procedure they will no longer need to be transported to the operating room. The lab is designed to be transformed into a surgery area if needed.

There is ample space for the interventional cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon and anesthesiologist to all be in the lab at the same time and the appropriate equipment is in place to begin the next level of care.

The new cath labs are located across the hall from the PMC Emergency Department.

Director of the PMC Heart and Vascular Institute, Lorri Burgess said, “If you are having a heart attack something that is very important is time. If you come to the emergency department we can get you to the cath lab much quicker now. The faster we get you to the cath lab the safer your muscle is, time is muscle.”

The new equipment is also much safer for patients, staff and physicians.

Webb said, “The new Philips equipment drastically reduces the radiation dosage that is necessary to take the images and that protects everyone in the room. The staff wear badges to let them know how much radiation they are receiving wherever they are standing in the lab. The less dose for everybody is always better.”

“One major advantage of the new Azurion imaging system is the 58 inch monitors,” said Dr. Ahmad. “There are multiple tiles, so during a procedure I can actually see a CT image from radiology, an ultra sound image and an MRI on my monitor all at the same time. Everything is built in and can be crossed over throughout our system, most hospitals cannot do that.”

Technology, safety and convenience are all factors that are extremely important but this new equipment also brings an additional feature specifically for patients.

“Many patients are a little nervous when they come in for a procedure,” said Webb. “We want our patients to have the best experience possible. Some of the new features could help patients relax.”

The new cath labs feature special lighting, monitors that display calming images of nature and each lab has a stereo system that plays soothing music. All these extras are efforts to help patients remain calm and relaxed.

For additional information about the new cardiac cath labs or to make an appointment with one of the specialists in the PMC Heart and Vascular Institute call 606-218-2201.