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New resuscitation machines used in regional cardiac care centre

December 3, 2014 – John Vinklers is sitting in the cafeteria at Rouge Valley Centenary (RVC) with his wife. A cardiac patient at the hospital, he has just completed his cardiovascular rehabilitation session for the day. He is talking about his regular routine of walking and doing weights. Nothing out of the ordinary, except for the fact that he realizes he could very well not be sitting here.

Early in 2014, after experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath for over a year, Vinklers consulted his doctor. Further testing confirmed that he had a blocked artery in his heart. He was referred to the regional cardiac care centre based at RVC for an angioplasty to clear the blockage.

During the procedure, while interventional cardiologist Dr. Chris Li was working on him, Vinklers’ left main coronary artery became completely blocked—a rare complication. He was suffering a cardiac arrest, or a code blue, and had no pulse.

“In these cases, with a blockage like this, you want to open up the artery to get the heart going again,” explains Dr. Li. “You can’t do CPR with a nurse or doctor on top of the patient’s chest doing compressions, and use the x-ray machine you need for completing the angioplasty at the same time.”

Cardiac short stay unit is the latest in major renovations for patient care

May 20, 2014  — Heart patients from Scarborough and Durham are getting more life-saving treatment thanks to the completion of major expansions at Rouge Valley Health System.

“Our program has grown significantly, but we didn’t have the capacity to match our growing number of patients. With our new cardiac short stay unit we’re able to see more patients in our fast-track emergency cardiac care – or Code STEMI,” explains Dr. Joe Ricci, medical director of Rouge Valley’s regional cardiac care program.

The hospital’s cardiac short stay unit, at Rouge Valley Centenary hospital campus in Scarborough, has been expanded to include 21 beds and 10 recliners allowing more patients to be cared for in this space.

In the unit, patients are assessed, prepared and cared for in the following heart procedures and tests:

  • Diagnostic cardiac catheterizations;
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), to open heart blood vessels narrowed by plaque buildup;
  • Electrophysiology (EP), to study and treat patients’ heart electrical rhythms;
  • Complex ablations to correct irregular heartbeats; and
  • Implantation of life-saving devices such as pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, which regulate the heartbeat.

Dr. Ricci says, “The cardiac catheterization lab is the gateway to care for our most critical regional heart patients. The completion of the cardiac short stay unit is essential to the quality of care we provide to our patients.”

Other features of the full renovation project include:

  • Three new cardiac catheterization labs;
  • New cath lab equipment that allows cardiologists to provide treatment in an environment with the lowest possible radiation dose, making it safer for patients and staff;
  • New equipment that will help cardiologists to widen narrowed or obstructed arteries in patients who were previously sent to downtown hospitals;
  • Advances in electrophysiology made possible with new equipment and funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care;
  • A designated procedure room for pacemaker implantations;
  • New equipment that allows cardiac tests and images to be viewed by physicians on computers in patient areas; and
  • A new media room with videoconferencing that enables cardiologists to connect in real-time with patients and physicians at other hospitals and facilities for consultations and to review cases.

Ribbon-cutting event to be held to celebrate improved access for patients

Feb. 25, 2014  — Patients in Durham Region will now have greater access to the regional cardiovascular rehabilitation and secondary prevention service thanks to the addition of three new sites in Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa.

Cardiovascular rehabilitation is a supervised service that: helps to improve the health of patients who have established vascular disease; have had a cardiac procedure, such as a bypass or angioplasty; or who are at high risk of developing a cardiovascular disease. The Central East Regional Cardiac Care Program offers a leading, six-month cardiovascular rehab and secondary prevention service for patients in Scarborough and Durham through a partnership between Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS) and Lakeridge Health. This service is offered at no charge to patients, and includes supervised exercise plans that are individualized for each patient, along with education classes, counseling and support.

"Cardiovascular secondary preventative services are the standard of care for all patients with established vascular disease — including not just heart disease, but heart failure, stroke, chronic kidney disease, peripheral vascular disease and complicated diabetics as well," explains Dr. Joe Ricci, medical manager of the regional cardiovascular rehabilitation program, and medical director of the cardiac care program at RVHS. "Studies have shown that cardiovascular rehabilitation can reduce death rates by 20 to 30 per cent, and reduce the number of people who need to be hospitalized also by 20 to 30 per cent."

More locations means easier access to services

Since July 2011, the regional service has more than doubled, adding three new sites with more in discussion. The expansion of the program has been made possible thanks to funding by the Central East Local Health Integration Network.

There are now seven regional cardiovascular rehab sites across Scarborough and Durham Region:

  • Scarborough – Rouge Valley Centenary, 2867 Ellesmere Road
  • Ajax – Ajax Community Centre, 75 Centennial Road (new)
  • Whitby – Abilities Centre, 55 Gordon Street (new)
  • Oshawa – Oshawa Civic Complex, 99 Thornton Road South; Oshawa Legends Centre, 1661 Harmony Road North (new)
  • Bowmanville – Bowmanville Indoor Soccer Complex, 2375 Baseline Road West
  • Port Perry – Scugog Community Recreation Centre, 1655 Reach Street

"We know that distance is a barrier to access, so multiple sites make it easier for those who really need this service to participate. By making services more accessible, we can help to improve the outcomes for our patients," says Dr. Ricci. "No matter where the patient is, they have the same access to secondary preventative service as anyone else in the region. They are receiving the same quality of care."

More than 2,200 patients already receive this care each year. The goal is to continue expanding in order to serve the 5,000 patients in Scarborough and Durham estimated to need this life-saving service.

Services are standardized across all sites, with Rouge Valley Centenary serving as the central hub for booking and administration. To participate in the regional cardiovascular rehab at one of the sites, a physician completes the standardized referral form, which can be faxed to 416-281-7280.