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Hospital celebrates opening of cath lab

RANDY PATRICK

Sun Reporter

Clark Regional Medical Center celebrated the opening of its $4.6 million cardiac catheterization laboratory Thursday with a small ceremony attended by medical staff and a invited guests.

The 2,500-square-foot facility near the emergency room, opened last November and has seen 65 patients. It has four pre-procedure bays as well as a post-procedure recovery area.

In addition to being able to do heart catheterization diagnostics, the cath lab can also do interventional procedures such as pacemaker and stent insertion, removal of blood clots and treatment of heart blockages.

One of the speakers at the celebration Thursday was Dr. Navin Rajagopalan, professor and associate director of the University of Kentucky Gill Heart and Vascular Outreach and Affiliate Network. He mentioned that Clark Regional was one of the first hospitals to join the network established in 2014.

He commended the local hospital’s staff, including cardiologists Dr. Charles Salters Jr., one of his former students at UK, and Dr. Anath Kumar, who developed the interventional cardiology program at Clark Regional.

“The development of the new cardiac catheterization laboratory at Clark Regional is another step in the advancement of high quality health care in Central Kentucky. It is a testament to the excellence of the team you have here today and your commitment to improving health care delivery in the region,” Rajagopalan said. “When a patient in Winchester or surrounding counties presents with an emergent cardiac problem, time is of the essence and having a catheterization lab here will allow residents of this community to undergo diagnostic procedures in a more timely manner, to allow them to be treated faster, alleviating symptoms and hopefully save lives.”

Kumar also spoke at the event, and Salters, who was working Thursday, showed up briefly during a reception following a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cindy Banks, Clark Regional CEO Matt Smith, Chairman Raymond Smith, Kelly Stratton, a registered nurse and senior director of the cath lab, other nurses, and other members of the staff.

Stratton gave a virtual tour of the lab, showing images of the facility.

“This has been a very long journey,” she said, and “it has been very exciting over the last several months to bring this new service to our community.”

Normally, the hospital would have offered an actual tour of the facility, but because of the risk of coronavirus infection, Smith said, and the limited space inside the lab, the event had to be held in a conference room, using technology to allow visitors to see what the lab looks like.

“If it were up to me, our entire front yard would be full of folks … and we would be shouting from the rooftops because this is a big day for us to be able to affect heart care in our region,” Smith said.

Established in 1917, the former Clark County Hospital was purchased 10 years ago by LifePoint Health of Brentwood, Tennessee, which built the new hospital a couple of years later.

From the beginning, Smith said, having a cath lab has been part of the vision for the hospital.

He said the lab ensures patients from Clark, Powell, Bath, Wolfe, Estill and Montgomery counties have access to timely cardiac care close to home.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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