November 6th, 2020
The $13 million expansion of St. Mary’s Heart Rhythm Program marks an important milestone on Monday, November 9 with the opening of new clinic space for patients. Staff and physicians who are moving into the new space celebrated with a ribbon cutting on Friday, November 6.
Patients who will be seen in this clinic are those who have, or who are being assessed for devices, like pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), as well as those patients requiring electrophysiology studies and ablation. The new space is on the main floor of the hospital, adjacent to where these patients were previously seen. The clinic had more than 7,300 patient visits in 2019-20.
Work is continuing on a high-tech suite that will allow patients to undergo electrophysiology (EP) studies and ablation procedures at St. Mary’s for the first time, beginning in early January 2021. Until now those patients have had to make multiple trips to other cardiac centres for these services, while receiving care in the Heart Rhythm clinic before and afterward at St. Mary’s. The new clinic space provides a dedicated area for Heart Rhythm patients and alleviates pressure on the existing area which houses other cardiac clinics.
The final phase of the Heart Rhythm expansion will be the opening of preparation and recovery space early in the New Year. This will be known as the Pre/Post Heart Investigation Unit (PHIU). Until then the EP program will use space in the hospital’s Day Surgery area.
“We are grateful, that even in the midst of a pandemic, work has continued on the much-needed expansion of our important Heart Rhythm program,” said Andrea Lemberg, Program Director for Cardiac and Critical Care at St. Mary’s.
“The clinic space opening marks the beginning of a big step forward for patients in our vast referral area,” said Dr. Umjeet Jolly, a Cardiac Electrophysiologist and lead for the EP program. “We are really looking forward to welcoming patients to the new clinic space and to begin offering diagnostic studies and treatment so they no longer have to travel great distances, to other centres.” From January to March, 2021, the EP program expects to complete approximately 120 standard and complex ablation procedures.
The regional cardiac program at St. Mary’s serves a catchment area of more than one million people, from Goderich to Guelph and from Tobermory to Simcoe.
The government of Ontario is investing up to $7.4 million of the capital funding for the expansion, with the remaining $5.6 million coming from investments by local donors.
“We thank thousands of community members whose generosity enabled the purchase of all equipment, and a significant portion of construction costs,” said Susan Dusick, President of St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation. “Every donor shares in celebrating this long-awaited milestone.”