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Emory University Hospital opens new $87.7 million heart and vascular facility

DeKalb County Trending

Emory University Hospital opens new $87.7 million heart and vascular facility

Emory Hospital's Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery Dr. Michael Halkos standing next to a surgery robot in one of Emory's six new cardiac operating rooms. Photo by Sara Amis

This story has been updated.

DeKalb County, GA — The third and fourth floors of the Emory University Hospital Tower now house a “state-of-the-art” heart and vascular facility with a 16-bed cardiovascular intensive care unit, six new operating rooms, catheterization labs, and electrophysiology labs. Portions of the facility are already in use for critical care, and it will open for procedures on March 19.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 12 was well-attended, including by medical staff eagerly surveying the new labs and equipment.

Dr. Divya Gupta and Dr. Sarah Oddsen DeCaro said that the new technology will allow physicians to work at the highest level of their expertise.

 “We now have state-of-the-art equipment that’s going to match the state-of-the-art providers that we have here,” DeCaro said.

Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery Dr. Michael Halkos estimated that the new facility can handle 50% more patients than the previous cardiovascular unit. Dr. Sarah Oddsen DeCaro said that the extra room would help to provide better care.

“The [electrophysiology] labs were 250 square feet, that’s now 1100 square feet. The things you can do in that space, that is a vast difference,” DeCaro said.

However, Halkos and others said that the most significant improvement is that all aspects of care are close to each other. 

“What we’ve created here is everything is under one roof, everything is together,” Halkos said. 

Rather than having the various labs, operating rooms, and patient rooms scattered in different parts of the hospital, clustering them together allows quick responses and collaboration.

“It’s convenient for us, but it’s even better for the patients,” Halkos said. 

Executive Director of Emory Heart and Vascular Dr. Angel Leon said that having all the different specialties together is beneficial for planned procedures but even more important in emergencies. 

“That’s when you see how this place makes a difference because the reaction time is greatly reduced,”  Leon said.

Medical teams can easily respond by going to the patient, improving outcomes. 

“Moving a patient when they are in bad shape is never a good idea. Purely from a patient safety perspective, you’ve got a big advantage,” Leon said.

Emory has a history of heart care advances, including bringing the inventor of balloon angioplasty, Dr. Andreas Grüntzig, to Emory Medical School to teach. Leon referred to that history in his remarks at the reception following the ribbon cutting.

“Let’s take that legacy that we have been handed, let’s move it forward and bring Emory to its rightful place as one of the top heart centers in the country, because that’s where we belong,” Leon said.

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