A number of cardiac surgery candidates at Windsor Regional Hospital will soon be able to stay in Windsor for their pre- and post-operation assessments.
The hospital board approved the opening of a new cardiac surgery clinic at the Ouellette Campus Thursday. This program will see cardiac surgeons from London Health Sciences Centre make visits to Windsor.
Approximately 30 per cent of cardiac surgeries at LHSC are for patients from Windsor and Essex County, according to Dr. Bob Kiaii, the London hospital’s chief of cardiac surgery. That works out to about 400 surgeries per year.
“By minimizing the amount of visits that some patients need to make, I think that their experience and perception for surgery will be better,” said Kiaii, the chair of the division of cardiac surgery at the Schulich School of Medicine.
All cardiac surgeries will still happen in London, but this program limits additional visits up Highway 401.
Kiaii said patients usually have one or two appointments with the physician before they have surgery, as well as one visit following the operation.
Only select patients will have access to the clinic. Kiaii said they will target people who might require more than the average number of pre-operation visits.
“We won’t be able to see every single one of them because it’s impossible,” he said. “We just don’t have the capabilities, but we can select patients who benefit from being assessed there.”
Kiaii said having Schulich medical students at the Windsor satellite campus was another factor in getting this program started.
The clinic may open as soon as April or May, he said, and five doctors from London are interested in being involved with the program.
At first, the clinics will operate monthly, but Kiaii said his team plans to review the patient feedback every three months to see if the program is beneficial, which could lead to more frequent visits.
Windsor Regional CEO David Musyj said all of the London physicians will need to apply for their hospital privileges to have them on the professional staff before the clinic sessions can begin.
Neither hospital will incur extra costs. Musyj said the physicians will pay their own travel expenses while Windsor Regional will use existing space to host the clinic.
Musyj said the clinic follows several other improvements to the local cardiology unit. Those include moving to a 24/7 cardiac catheterization lab a few months ago, which he said has reduced almost all angioplasty transfers to London or the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.
The hospital is also working on gaining a second catheterization table, which Musyj said should give access to all patients who require that service when the other table undergoes maintenance.
Having cardiac surgery at either Windsor Regional campus isn’t possible, said Musyj, but it could be available at the proposed single-site acute care facility, which is seven to 10 years away.
“We’re not going to promise that, but if you don’t work towards that, you’ll never get there,” he said. “This is the process of working towards the possibility."