The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) has opened its third cardiac catheter laboratory, allowing for thousands more patients to be treated for heart conditions.

Health minister visiting the RMH for the opening of the cardio cath lab

This gives the RMH the ability to continue growing as a specialised heart centre for the north and west of the state of Victoria.

The RMH provides statewide services to all Victorians for lead extractions, adult congenital cardiac interventions and complex arrhythmia procedures.

In addition, we continue to operate as the tertiary cardiac centre for not only our local catchment but for many regional areas including Ballarat, Shepparton, Horsham, Albury/Wodonga, and Wangaratta.

Director of Cardiology, Associate Professor Leeanne Grigg said the additional cardiac catheter laboratory ("cath lab") offers an increase to our patient flow and will decrease the length of stay.

“We can dedicate one lab for inpatient work, meaning that when a patient is admitted through our ED or through the cardiology department we can offer them the procedure they need on the same day, allowing them in some cases to be discharged the next day,” A/prof Grigg said.

“The additional cath lab, and upgrades to our existing labs, have the most state of the art equipment which allows us to continue delivering the best care for our patients,” A/prof Grigg said.

One of the three cath labs will run as an emergency lab, allowing for the other two to be used for highly specialised procedures, which will help at reducing wait times for elective surgeries.

Work is underway currently to upgrade the second cath lab, which will become the space we will do all our complex structural work, including valve implantations and complex congenital cardiac interventions.

Currently the RMH undertakes about 500 device implantations (pacemakers and ICDs), approximately 600 PCI procedures, 160 structural interventions including TAVI and pulmonary valve implantations, approx. 400 arrhythmia cases and about 1600 other cases.

It is expected that the additional capacity will allow the RMH to double its cases per year with an extra 1600-1700 cases annually.

The new space also includes a large collaborating space for staff, a dedicated work station for the nurse unit manager and six recovery spaces for patients, allowing patients to recover in our cardiology department which will improve the turnover of cases.

The additional cath lab will allow the RMH to:

  1.  Increase our electrophysiological cases especially complex arrhythmia cases with a current waiting time of more than 12 months
  2. To increase our complex cases for valve replacements, complex congenital cardiac procedures, and complex coronary procedures
  3. Allow us to use the additional cath lab for urgent inpatients which will likely lead to a decreased length of stay
Mobile Stroke Unit with Ambulance Victoria paramedic and the RMH Stroke team
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