Sparks Health System announced and broke ground on a $2 million expansion of the Sparks Regional Medical Center Cardiac Catheterization Lab in Fort Smith, Ark., on Thursday (Aug. 17).
A cardiac catheterization laboratory, or “cath lab,” performs imaging functions that view inside patients’ hearts and blood vessels to see if they have heart disease. Working together, physicians and nurses perform diagnostic cath procedures, as well as provide emergent care during a heart attack, like placing a stent in a blocked artery.
The cath lab at Sparks saw approximately 3,800 patients last year and expects to increase the number with the addition of two more interventional cardiologists in September, according to Sparks Health System CEO Dan McKay. McKay told Talk Business & Politics the expansion has been in development for “about 12 months” and the $2 million will include needed equipment to meet the demand for cardiac care in Fort Smith and surrounding areas.
“With a strong 130-year history of serving our community, the expansion of our cardiology department will provide for the future needs of the region,” McKay said, adding the structure will add 1,600 square feet to the existing facility.
The expansion will be located on the southeast corner of the hospital and connect to cath and cardiology procedure areas. The first floor of the expansion will serve as an additional cath lab, while the second floor will be reserved for future growth. The space will also allow physicians to perform valve replacement surgery for patients diagnosed with a valve disease, like aortic stenosis.
“Arkansas has one of the nation’s highest death rates related to cardiovascular disease. When other measures cannot treat or prevent it, the cath lab can provide lifesaving information and interventions,” said Dr. Nasser Adjei, chief of cardiology, Sparks Health System. “We are committed to delivering quality heart care to our patients and are pleased to offer expanded access for these needed services.”
The project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year, weather permitting.
According to a 2017 report from the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in the previous year accounted for close to 800,000 deaths — one out of every three. CVDs do not respect gender, ranking as the number one killer in the U.S. for both men and women. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is to blame for the majority of CVD deaths, followed by stroke and heart failure. More than 90 million Americans carry a diagnosis of CVD.
Sparks Health System, which operates under the Community Health Partners umbrella, includes Sparks Regional Medical Center, Sparks Medical Center-Van Buren, Sparks Clinic, Sparks PremierCare and the fully hospital-integrated Marvin Altman Fitness Center.