Catheterization lab to extend Walla Walla General Hospital's cardiac services

Walla Walla General Hospital is beginning work on the lab, which is expected to cut the number of patients that have to go out of town.

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Walla Walla General Hospital is beginning construction on a catheterization lab to enhance the range of cardiac services offered by the hospital, said spokeswoman Kristi Spurgeon Johnson.

When complete, the $2.3 million project will encompass a state-of-the-art cath lab for coronary angiograms -- a rapid diagnostic tool to help determine the best course of care for a patient with cardiac symptoms.

The 2,800-square-foot facility is scheduled to open by early summer.

The lab has been designed as a multi-use area, and can also serve as an operating room for vascular studies and surgery, interventional radiology and interventional pain procedures, Spurgeon Johnson said.

The cath lab will add to the hospital's cardiac care program and allow patients to remain in Walla Walla for more invasive procedures.

"Every year we send more than 100 patients with cardiac symptoms to hospitals outside our Valley, causing additional stress for the patients and their families," says Monty Knittel, WWGH president and CEO. "Our emergency care for cardiac patients is among the best in the nation and being able to follow up with more advanced procedures for those patients will allow for the best outcomes throughout their recovery."

Due to its location in the hospital, the construction project -- managed by McKormick Construction from Pendleton -- also includes a remodel of the rehabilitation services department with private treatment rooms and a more efficient use of space. Outpatient rehabilitation services has temporarily relocated to Suite No. 2 in the physician office building adjacent to the hospital. All other hospital services will remain uninterrupted during the construction process, Spurgeon Johnson noted.

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