The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board granted unanimous approval to Silver Cross Hospital to establish an open-heart surgery program on its New Lenox campus. The new program will be operational as early as spring 2019.
“This approval means Silver Cross will now be able to offer the full spectrum of heart care services that our community needs,” Silver Cross President/CEO Ruth Colby said in a news release Tuesday. “It also means heart patients will no longer have to experience the stress and anxiety of having to leave their preferred hospital and travel for advanced heart care.”
The hospital will add two state-of-the-art operating rooms, a “hybrid room” equipped with advanced medical imaging devices to support minimally invasive surgery and two recovery rooms. It will be housed in the hospital’s soon-to-be-expanded Procedural Care Unit on the second floor.
In addition, a 14-bed cardiac care unit will open on the first floor directly below the PCU to care for patients after heart surgery, and will be serviced with a dedicated elevator between the two units.
Silver Cross currently has the eighth-largest cardiac catheterization program in the state and leads the local market for outpatient cardiac procedures performed annually, according to the release.
In 2017 alone, Silver Cross performed more than 3,500 diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterizations, an 11 percent increase over the previous year. And between 2015 and 2016, diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterizations performed at Silver Cross Hospital increased by 13 percent.
“As an interventional cardiologist who primarily works at Silver Cross, I see the need for this service on a daily basis,” said Dr. Abdul Sankari, Silver Cross chief of staff and medical director of the hospital’s cardiac catheterization program. “Telling a patient they need open heart surgery is difficult enough, but explaining to the patient and their family they have to seek these services at a hospital other than Silver Cross is even more difficult.”
The approval also paves the way for Silver Cross to develop a structural heart program, which uses minimally invasive catheter-based technology to treat life-threatening valve disorders and structural heart defects. Minimally invasive approaches translate to better outcomes for patients, including a lower risk of infection and complications, reduced trauma to the chest, a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Will County and the second-highest cause for hospitalization, according to the Will County Community Health Needs Assessment for 2017. In addition, residents have one or more risk factors that lead to heart disease, including high blood pressure (50 percent), high cholesterol (37 percent) and obesity (24 percent).
Fifteen percent of families in Will County report some type of heart condition that may require minimally invasive or open surgical intervention. Currently, patients presenting with life-threatening heart emergencies such as aneurysms, aortic dissections, acute heart attack and cardiogenic shock require transfer or referral to other facilities for treatment, said Dr. Pat Pappas, cardiothoracic surgeon and president of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgical Associates, a group of surgeons that have pioneered minimally invasive heart valve surgery.
Construction of the additional operating and recovery rooms will begin immediately, with the first open-heart procedures performed next spring, the release said.
Visit silvercross.org for more information.