Groundbreaking for the Heart Institute Expansion

February 23, 2015

It was a cold, wintery morning on January 15 when a crowd of well-wishers joined numerous city and provincial dignitaries to celebrate the groundbreaking for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute’s expansion project.

Many years in the making, the expansion will have a substantial impact on the delivery of cardiac care across Eastern Ontario and help the Heart Institute remain at the forefront of cardiovascular research and education.

“This investment ensures better access to high-quality, specialized cardiac services for residents of this entire region,” said John Fraser, Ottawa South MPP and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “What this will mean to people is almost 1,600 additional catheterization lab procedures, 300 additional electrophysiology lab procedures and another 300 surgeries.”

Thierry Mesana, MD, PhD, President and CEO of the Heart Institute, thanked the local community for its patience and cooperation as the construction moves forward, recognizing that “there will be some inconvenience along the way to making the new state-of-the-art facility available to our city and region.”

Highlights of the new addition include:

  • More than 145,000 square feet
  • of new space
  • A total of five operating rooms, plus one shelled in for future use
  • A total of nine catheterization/electrophysiology labs
  • An additional surgical critical care unit, for a total of 27 beds
  • Additional non-surgical intensive care facilities, for a total of 22 beds

All the operating rooms and catheterization and electrophysiology labs will be much larger than the current ones in order to accommodate more equipment and offer a better work environment, as well as creating ideal platforms for innovation and research. Critical care facilities will have access to natural light and be equipped to provide the best care and better conditions for clinical research.

Following completion of the addition, the project will move on to extensively renovate the 59,000 square feet of the existing building in 2018–19. All Cardiac Imaging facilities will be consolidated to provide better patient access and service in this busy area. Prevention services will move to new quarters to better accommodate patients, and more space will be made available for clinical services, research and education.

Most visibly, a new front entrance will expand the cramped lobby and allow for better patient flow, with a central registration area and direct access to Cardiac Imaging via escalator. The new facade and lobby will have an open, contemporary look, providing a wider and more welcoming space for patients, families and visitors.

Other notable guests at the groundbreaking event included the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson; area MPPs Yasir Naqvi, Bob Chiarelli and Marie-France Lalonde; the President of The Ottawa Hospital, Jack Kitts, MD; previous Heart Institute President Robert Roberts, MD; and Heart Institute founder Wilbert Keon, MD.

Acknowledged in particular by the speakers was the remarkable vision brought forth by Dr. Keon in his founding of the Heart Institute and the unflagging political support provided by Naqvi.

“This new building means giving our team the best tools to provide the best care for patients and their families, including the creation of innovative programs, new solutions and patient-oriented research,” concluded Dr. Mesana. “It means that we will deliver cardiac care like none other. Our institute will make a global impact on health care while we continue to spend every second of our lives trying to save yours.”

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