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The cath lab team at Frimley Park Hospital

Heart care at Frimley Park Hospital has been transformed with the completion of an extensive £2.6m modernisation programme to upgrade its two catheter laboratories (cath labs). 

The state-of-the-heart cath labs will allow more patients to be treated at the hospital, as they reduce the time taken to perform some common heart procedures. The latest technology will also allow more complex cardiac work to be carried out locally rather than patients having to travel to specialist centres in London. 

Cath labs are a cross between a theatre and an x-ray room and are used to help perform non-surgical procedures on the heart. The cardiology team performs both planned and emergency procedures in the labs including angiograms and angioplasty for patients with coronary heart disease (angina, heart attack).

Frimley Health’s two-year modernisation programme was completed last week, with Cath lab 2 set to reopen to patients later this month.

The newly installed equipment includes a specialist x-ray machine that emits 40% less radiation,  modern surgical lighting, and a new digital viewing system with a large LCD screen to help reduce patient anxiety before procedures. The upgrade also includes the latest conference facilities that will allow the Frimley Health team to stream live training sessions and run educational courses for other organisations around the world.  

Dr Peter Clarkson, consultant cardiologist at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The entire cath lab has been designed around efficiency and will allow us to increase the number of patients we treat each day.

"In the longer term, we will be able to take on more complex procedures and repatriate some work that is currently carried out at specialist heart centres in London.

“This is an important investment that will advance our digital capability, speed up the time taken to carry out some procedures and ultimately improve the patient experience by providing a calming and comforting environment.”