Construction underway on WW General Hospital's new cath lab

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Construction has begun on a new $2.3 million catheterization lab at Walla Walla General Hospital.

Designed to enhance the cardiac services already available at the Second Avenue medical center, the new lab will allow patients to undergo more invasive procedures for which they were previously sent out of town.

A dedication service Nov. 11 kicked off what is expected to be months of construction that will also include a remodel of the hospital's rehabilitation services department.

The 2,800-square-foot lab, expected to be operational by early summer 2011, will be the state-of-the-art center for the hospital's coronary angiograms, the rapid and accurate diagnostic tool that helps determine the best course of care for patients with cardiac symptoms, hospital officials said in an announcement.

"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," said Walla Walla General President and CEO Monty Knittel, in a prepared statement.

"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."

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

Pendleton-based McKormick Construction is the contractor on the job.

During construction, outpatient rehabilitation services has temporarily relocated to Suite 2 in the physician office building adjacent to the hospital.

All other services will remain uninterrupted.

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