DeKALB – When Dr. Christopher Berry, a cardiologist at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital, arrived in 2009, it was fairly common for a patient with a heart problem to be transferred to another hospital because their needs couldn’t be met in DeKalb.
“We had limitations in terms of procedures and the accuracy and detail of our imaging,” Berry said. “Obviously, we don’t have an open heart program, nor will we have one in the near future based on the size of the hospital, community and the number of patients you need to have a successful program.”
But what Kishwaukee Hospital can now offer thanks to a $1.5 million donation from the KishHealth Foundation, is the expansion of cardiovascular services. These include an upgraded cardiac catheterization lab, three-dimensional echocardiography and an advance teleconferencing center.
“We are thrilled to support the development and growth of the Northwestern Medicine cardiovascular program at Kishwaukee Hospital,” said Gary Evans, chairman of the KishHealth Foundation. “With new technology, improved clinical collaboration and additional educational opportunities, Northwestern Medicine is offering world-class care close to home.”
Upgrades began in August, but Berry said he doesn’t anticipate performing any procedures with the new equipment until the end of December.
Kim Waterman, media relations manager with Northwestern Medicine, said that should the donation have not been received, the project would not have been completed to the extent that it was, and some aspects of the plan would have been delayed for an uncertain amount of time.
“We didn’t have to cut any corners,” Berry said. “We got what we wanted, we didn’t omit anything that we thought was important and the equipment is going to be high-performing for at least 10 years.”
With the new cardiac catheterization lab, Berry said that patients will be exposed to less radiation and contrast solutions during procedures.
The image quality from the catheterization equipment also is greatly improved.
“We’re having a piece of equipment that has a lot of flexibility in terms of mount and mobility that helps with performing these procedures,” Berry said. “Obviously with expanding the cardiovascular program, you can’t just develop one side of it. You have to develop all sides of it.”
Berry said that with the growth of peripheral vascular programs, which address circulatory issues outside the heart, money also is going toward the enhancement of those services.
Telecapability enhancement also is a focus. Berry said the development of an advanced conference room will allow more accurate communication with hospitals where patients may be transferred.
For information or to make an appointment with a cardiovascular specialist, visit heart.nm.org.