Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust today (15th January 2010) opened a second cardiac catheterisation laboratory (cath lab) as part of its ongoing determination to expand and improve an already excellent cardiology service. The lab was officially opened today by former Ashford and St Peter’s cardiology consultant, Professor Michael Joy OBE, and the event was very well attended by representatives of the local community including Cllr Margaret Roberts the Deputy Mayor of Runnymede, other local councillors, former patients as well as staff from the unit and colleagues from Surrey PCT.

The new lab will enable cardiology consultants to perform Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PPCI) – a specialist procedure for people who have suffered a major heart attack - in two laboratories, when currently this procedure can only be carried out in one. This will reduce the risk of patients waiting to receive this emergency treatment, if the current lab is in use with planned procedures. This is important as the effectiveness of PPCI is reduced if it is not performed quickly.

PPCI is now considered the most effective form of treatment for patients suffering from a severe heart attack. According to the Department of Health National Infract Angioplasty Project this emergency angioplasty can significantly reduce mortality, improve longer-term outcome and reduce the likelihood of strokes and further heart attacks during hospital admission.

Colin Fautley, a patient from Sutton Green near Woking has experienced a similar procedure in the original cath lab at St. Peter’s. “After I had my heart attack the treatment and care I received at St. Peter’s was second to none. This non invasive treatment is amazing and has really given me my life and confidence back.”

St. Peter’s hospital currently provides PPCI from 8 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday, with out of hours patients being thrombolysed (another specialist emergency procedure for people who have suffered a heart attack). Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust has always been at the cutting edge of cardiac care in West Surrey, being the first hospital to have a fully provisioned cath lab and to achieve British Cardiovascular Intervention Society accreditation. Now the Trust wants to be the first 24 hour heart attack centre for the region, which would provide the most appropriate treatment for patients suffering a heart attack.

Clinical Director for Medicine and Cardiology Consultant Dr. David Fluck said: “I am extremely excited about the opportunity that our new lab will bring us. I know I speak on behalf of the cardiology department and the trust when I say that we are passionate about delivering the best possible healthcare for our patients and that means opening a 24/7 emergency angioplasty service. We have the space, we have the staff and now we want the work”.

In addition to the new cath lab, the trust has recently welcomed the newest member of the cardiology consultant team, Dr Riyaz Kaba, an expert in Electrophysiology, who will run twice weekly arrhythmia clinics, supplemented by sessions in one of the cath labs. Dr Kaba joined the trust in December from the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. His expertise will significantly enhance the Trust’s ability to perform electrophysiology procedures, which until Dr. Kaba’s appointment have been excellently provided by Dr. Mark Gallagher of St. George’s Healthcare NHS Trust. Dr. Gallagher will continue to run a monthly arrhythmia clinic at St. Peter’s and work in the lab every fortnight.

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