Heart treatment at Kettering General Hospital will be quicker after a third catheter laboratory opened in its cardiac centre.
The third laboratory, where heart patients are checked and treated, will speed up the treatment of both emergency and routine patients as part of the hospital’s role as lead organisation in Northamptonshire for emergency cardiac interventions.
Consultant cardiologist Dr Javed Ehtisham said: “The third lab is a significant extension to cardiac services at Kettering General Hospital and it will help us to improve the quality of care for the increasing number of people who need cardiac procedures to save – or enhance – their lives.
“Improved ways of identifying patients with cardiac problems has resulted in increased demand for services of this kind which is why we need to expand the service at Kettering.
“This will also help us to speed up care for both emergency and non-emergency patients resulting in a safer and better quality experience.”
The hospital became the county hub for 24/7 cardiac care, particularly for people who have had a heart attack, in October 2010.
Since then it has seen and treated some 700 patients with emergency Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, in which a small frame called a stent is used to keep a blocked artery open.
It has also performed 5,800 other routine cardiac procedures such as angiograms, angioplasty, permanent pacemakers and cardiac defibrillators.
The first patient to use the new laboratory was Alan McClintock, 56, of Corby.
He had a heart attack in 2007, shortly before KGH opened its £4.7m Cardiac Centre, and so he has witnessed the development of the hospital’s facilities first hand from a patient’s point of view.
Mr McClintock, who is married to Marilyn, has a son Jamie, 26, and an 21-month-old grandson, Kenzie, said: “When I had a heart attack five years ago Kettering General didn’t do cardiac stents so I had to go to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.
“Recently I had been suffering from chest pain so on July 4 I had an angiogram at the new laboratory that has just opened inside the cardiac centre to see what was happening inside my heart.
“The service was absolutely brilliant. I saw the doctor within 15 minutes and was in the theatre half an hour later.
“It is very fast and efficient and there is someone with you all the time so you know exactly what is happening. I was very impressed. It was very new and high-tech and I was very well looked after.”
The good news for Mr McClintock is his angiogram procedure, in which dye and an x-ray are used to give a view of the heart at work, showed that his stents and heart valves were operating normally.
Further tests showed his chest pains were the result of a chest infection for which he was treated with antibiotics.
Cardiac services manager Maxine White said: “The new lab means that we can increase our daily inpatient sessions so that we can give people quicker diagnosis of their problems and enable them, where appropriate, to have their procedure and go home earlier.”