DC’s first heart hospital opens

WASHINGTON—The District of Columbia is getting its first heart hospital.

It’s actually a hospital within a hospital. A wing of MedStar Washington Hospital Center has been renovated and transformed into a state-of-the-art cardiac care facility, called the Nancy and Harold Zirkin Heart & Vascular Hospital.

“Everything that is related to heart and vascular care will be in that wing,” said Dr. Stuart Seides, the physician chief executive of the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute.

The new heart hospital is part of his institute, which will staff the facility with cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, a specialized team of nurses, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.

Instead of being scattered throughout Washington Hospital Center, all patients needing heart and vascular treatment will go to this cardiac wing, which has 164 beds and a special cardiac intensive care unit capable of treating 44 cases.

In advance of its formal dedication on Thursday evening, Seides told WTOP that the state-of-the-art four-story cardiac facility, “has the space and amenities that are necessary for taking care of these complicated patients.”

He said this new centralized approach to heart and vascular treatment is becoming more common in major medical centers as they incorporate the latest technical advances in care.

The intensive care rooms are larger than standard hospital ICU rooms, with ceiling-mounted overhead booms carrying essential gear. That means there is nothing to get in the way of clinicians as they treat severely ill patients, with the booms providing 360-degrees access.

Parts of the hospital have already started to accept patients, while the ICU—the last part built—is awaiting its final inspection and is slated to open in July.

Nancy and Harold Zirkin, a local couple,  provided $10 million to help create the new facility.

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