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Keesler renovates cardiac cath lab to provide better, safer care

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Suzie Plotnikov
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
The Keesler Cardiology Pulmonary Clinic had a ribbon cutting ceremony for their newly renovated cardiac catheterization laboratory, Nov. 15.

In an approximately 10-month-process, the lab was upgraded with an entire suite of technology to provide better and safer care for patients as well as the surgical team.

“The new additions allow us to improve the provision of which we provide care and improve the safety of the procedures for our patients and for the operators who are exposing themselves to occupational radiation on a daily basis,” said Maj. Frank Russo, 81st Medical Operations Squadron cardiac catheterization laboratory director.

During operations, cath lab workers are required to have occupational monitoring of the radiation exposures and due to the high volume of procedures they perform, the radiation levels were high.

“What I’m seeing with our new technology is the ability to monitor our radiation levels in real time and be able to reduce the total radiation dose we receive as healthcare workers,” said Russo. “The amount of radiation our patients receive during the procedures has been much lower as well. Our new cath lab has a ten-fold reduction in radiation compared to what we were using previously.”

Historically, the Keesler Medical Center cath lab has been leading the way in cardiovascular care not only in the Air Force and the Defense Department, but locally as well which was demonstrated when KMC implanted one of the first Micra Pacemakers in the state of Mississippi.

“Our demand for cardiology services here is great enough that we knew we would need to provide state of the art care,” said Russo. “Keesler has historically been a leader in providing high quality patient care and in order to continue to lead that effort, we had to upgrade and modernize our facilities to keep up with the technology and scope of services we provide.”

The upgrades offers multiple advancements in terms of radiation reduction, digitization of medical information as well as new capabilities which are more advanced than anything locally, said Lt. Col. William Pomeroy, 81st MDOS cardiologist. These advancements were necessary, he explained, as the cath lab has previously performed up to 2,000 procedures per year.

“Our image quality is far better than what we had been using,” said Russo. “We have the ability to incorporate different forms of technology into one suite for each room and have them communicate with each other to provide better patient care.”

Not only does the catheterization laboratory serve active duty members and retirees, the clinic has a joint DoD veteran’s partnership that dates back to 2007. Throughout the past five years, the lab has performed 5,600 procedures on Veteran Affairs patients which provided funding to the KMC facility as well as reduced the cost to the VA Medical Center as a whole.

These advancements also further the readiness of the medical and surgical specialties by enhancing the number and acuity of patients seen in the facility.

“We are providing services to a population that deserves high quality health care,” said Pomeroy. “We are investing in the future of this organization as well as the future of our healthcare for the veterans on the Gulf Coast.”