NNUH Cath lab work begins

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has begun the next phase of its £15m programme to create new Cath labs and invest in new equipment for radiology and cardiology.

Redundant x-ray equipment has been removed to clear the space ready for it to become a new Cath lab as part of the Interventional Capacity Programme, which has seen investment in both Radiology and Cardiology equipment.

Now that the project to replace cardiology equipment has been approved, a specialist firm has been on site to remove and recycle the redundant equipment. This first step clears the space and allows the redevelopment of the unit ready for the installation of new equipment in the coming weeks creating a much needed fifth Cath Lab.

Cardiology used to share use of the labs with the Interventional Radiology team. That team has now moved into its own purpose built Norfolk Centre for Interventional Radiology, which opened its doors to patients a year ago, last September. The vacant space has now been taken over by cardiology and will see the creation of the brand new Cath Lab 5, with building work due to be complete next spring.

Each refurbished Cath Lab is being fitted with the latest Philips technology to provide both a technical upgrade in terms of system capability, as well as benefits to patients and clinical staff on the basis they require much less radiation to produce high quality images than current equipment. In addition, the creation of a fifth Cath lab, will provide additional capacity to cardiology, reducing the time patients wait for procedures as well as reducing impact on planned work to manage emergency procedures.

Cath lab 5 will carry out procedures such as Pacemaker insertion as well as Electrophysiology studies involving diagnosing and treating heart rhythm disorders.

David Ashman clinical lead for the project said: “We have been working on this project for some time, so we are very excited to see the first steps in upgrading our clinical equipment. Once the new equipment is installed, the benefits to our patients and our staff will be significant.”

The first additional Cath Lab (Cath Lab 4) under the managed equipment scheme (MES) was finished in December 2019.

Dr Richard Till Consultant Electrophysiologist said: “I am thrilled that the refurbishment of this suite is now underway, once complete it will be a dedicated Electrophysiology /Pacing Lab.

Electrophysiology is the assessment of the heart’s electrical system or activity and is used to diagnose abnormal heartbeats or arrhythmia. The test is performed by inserting catheters and then wire electrodes, which measure electrical activity, through blood vessels that enter the heart. This will provide us with much needed space for the service growth.’

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