GPH celebrates new labs

One of two new catheterization labs in the renovated and newly renamed Heart Institute at Great Plains Health. The center was previously named the Heart and Vascular Center. Both cath labs have been in full operation since Monday.

The Heart and Vascular Center at Great Plains Health has received a complete renovation as well as a new name. The center has been renamed the Heart Institute and now features two new catheterization labs.

The Heart Institute went from having just one cath lab to having two right next to each other.

Ivan Mitchell, chief operating officer of Great Plains Health, said the new name fits the direction the program is moving.

“As our services and procedures continue to advance, we want a name that reflects that growth and innovation,” Mitchell said. “With the addition of a second cath lab and all new equipment in the current cath lab, we have made access to care and innovation a priority.”

Mitchell said the new technology has allowed Great Plains Health’s Heart Institute to do procedures that aren’t being done anywhere in the region.

Richard Markiewicz, interventional cardiologist and endovascular specialist, said the name change gives people an idea of what is done at the center, including advanced cardiovascular and heart procedures.

“We really want to convey that our primary mission is to decrease the distance people need to go to receive heart care,” Markiewicz said. “You don’t have to travel 100 miles to receive heart care. We do advanced heart attacks and have advanced support devices for heart attacks, right here in North Platte.”

The Heart Institute does not do open heart surgeries, but specializes in advanced minimally invasive procedures, which Markiewicz said is becoming more common as heart bypass is no longer the standard procedure.

Heart Institute doctors also travel to rural areas for initial consultations to connect patients farther away to what the institute can provide, Markiewicz said.

The outreach clinics go to 15 communities, according to a handout from the Heart Institute.

Other statistics in the handout include:

» “Door-to-balloon” (angioplasty) time was 57 minutes at GPH in 2018.

» Great Plains Health invested $5 million in the last two years for heart and vascular services.

» 22 procedures have been added in the last eight years.

Both cath labs have been fully functional since Monday.

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