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Huntsville Hospital opens Heart Institute

Huntsville Hospital's Heart Institute is a 37-bed Cardiac Short Stay area for patients to prepare and recover from cardiac procedures. CONTRIBUTED
Huntsville Hospital’s Heart Institute is a 37-bed Cardiac Short Stay area for patients to prepare and recover from cardiac procedures. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Huntsville Hospital recently opened its Heart Institute to better serve patients in its nationally ranked cardiovascular program.

The Heart Institute was under construction for more than six months.

Located on the hospital’s third floor, the Heart Institute is designed as a ‘front door’ to the cardiovascular program. Patients will have access to a spacious new reception area and lobby as they arrive for heart catheterizations, cardiac interventions, pacemaker implants, nuclear stress tests and other outpatient cardiac procedures.

Adjacent to the lobby, a modern, 37-bed Cardiac Short Stay area serves as the location to prepare patients for their cardiac procedures and spend time recovering afterward.

“It’s significantly larger than the current 28-bed Short Stay area and much more private with individual rooms,” Chris Thornton said. Thornton, a registered nurse, is Director of the Cath Lab and Cardiac Short Stay. “Also, the unit boasts sound-absorbing flooring and ceiling tiles to keep things quiet for patients.”

According to Truven Health Analytics, Huntsville Hospital is home to one of the nation’s top 50 cardiac programs. The newly expanded Heart Institute houses the highly-specialized cardiovascular services including the Cath Lab, Transesophageal Echocardiogram, Cardiac Short Stay, Electrophysiology Lab, Nuclear Cardiology and Stress Lab.

The Heart Institute offers patients and families the amenities and convenience expected of a nationally ranked health care program, Thornton said.

Planning for the Heart Institute began when the Clinical Lab relocated from the third floor to the Twickenham Place office building, freeing up 17,000 square feet adjacent to the hospital’s cardiac cath, electrophysiology and transesophageal echocardiogram labs.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvent the cardiac program,” Thornton said. “The new space is going to allow us to take care of patients more efficiently and get their procedures done in more timely fashion, which translates to a quicker recovery.”

Huntsville Hospital hired six additional nurses, four cardiovascular techs and a secretary to help staff the Heart Institute. More than 50 cardiologists are authorized to perform procedures in the adjacent cardiac labs.

For more information, visit huntsvillehospital.org.

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