After a year of renovation and construction, the Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute (CHVI) will celebrate its official opening this month. The $17 million project is part of a major expansion of Carondelet Health Network’s heart program on both Carondelet St. Mary’s and Carondelet St. Joseph’s campuses. Nine of the 20 cardiac and vascular specialists employed by Carondelet have joined the Network this past year.

CHVI is located on the first and third floors of St. Mary’s Hospital. The Institute includes a dedicated Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit; a 21-bed, all private room progressive care unit; a 34-bed telemetry unit; two cardiac catheterization labs; three dedicated operating suites; an electrophysiology suite with cardiac arrhythmia ablation capability; and an endovascular surgical suite for complex aneurysm repair.

“We are so proud to offer Southern Arizonans the very latest in cardiac and vascular care technologies, coupled with one of the most highly skilled teams of physicians, surgeons and nurses,” said Dr. Amy Beiter, president and chief executive officer of St. Mary’s Hospital. “Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute is truly an extraordinary combination of high-tech and high-touch care.”

One highlight of the new Institute is the hybrid operating suite—a cardiac catheterization lab and cardiothoracic operating room combined. This OR is equipped with ambient lighting, high-tech equipment that dramatically reduces radiation exposure for patients and physicians, and video streaming—making it the only hybrid OR of its kind in the nation. The design of the hybrid OR streamlines workflow and creates a more relaxing environment. It offers clear sightlines and open spaces, reducing a patient’s potential sense of isolation. Clinical studies have shown that, in this specific environment, patients who remain awake during surgery require less medication for anxiety than in traditional surgical environments.

The hybrid OR is also equipped with the highest quality X-ray imaging for optimal visualization during complex surgical procedures. Lastly, this modern surgical environment will serve as a remote classroom, producing streaming video that will allow physicians and medical students anywhere in the world to observe and learn new techniques and procedures.

“The vision of Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute is to be nationally recognized as a premier destination for modern cardiovascular care through clinical excellence, research and physician education,” said Michael Hecht, MD and chief medical officer of Carondelet Specialist Group. “Our expert medical team has formed a unique collaboration to provide the highest quality, most comprehensive and compassionate care to our patients.”

St. Mary’s has received several national recognitions for quality patient care in the last few years. It has been named a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence, a Distinguished Hospital for Critical Care and is among the top 100 hospitals in the nation for stroke care.1 St. Mary’s has also achieved the Healthgrades’ Patient Safety Excellence Award, placing it among the top 10 percent of hospitals nationwide for quality and safety. A Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center, St. Mary’s was also honored in 2013 by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association with a Gold Plus Award for Stroke Care.