KANKAKEE — The most advanced technology for interventional cardiology, radiology and electrophysiology will be available to the region within days as Riverside Healthcare puts the final touches on its more than $20 million investment into its Kankakee campus.

Officials provided public tours Tuesday as it unveiled its large investment in the Riverside Heart & Vascular Institute located in the north portion of the Kankakee medical center.

“We are excited to bring this advanced technology to Riverside,” said Phil Kambic, Riverside Healthcare’s president and CEO. “As we celebrate 55 years of service, this reinforces our commitment to caring for the needs of our patients right here in the community.”

Kambic said Riverside might not hold the mantle very long for having the latest technology available, he said the hospital does as of today.

The hospital is anticipating its first procedure in the approximate 9,500 square feet of the newly enhanced institute will take place Nov. 18.

The hospital still has about 10,500 square feet of space to be completed.

Asked why Riverside made such a large investment, Kambic said that was an easy question to answer.

“It’s the right thing to do for this community," he said. "It might sound sappy, but that’s our mission.”

The state-of-the-art cardiac, radiology and electrophysiology unit has been some three years in the making.

In 2018, Riverside doctors and medical teams performed about 3,000 cardiac catheterizations and 250 open heart surgeries.

A cardiac catheterization is a procedure used to diagnose and treat certain cardiovascular conditions. During the procedure, a long thin tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery or vein in the groin, neck or arm and threaded through the blood vessels to the heart.

The procedure allows for the examination of the heart to find areas of blockages and restrictions. This procedure can also be used by doctors to perform an angioplasty, which is the repair or unblocking of a blood vessel.

The new institute will allow the medical staff to perform these procedures with greater efficiencies through innovation, which reduces risks to patients and shortens recovery time.

This investment will enable Riverside doctors to care for more than 5,500 patients annually in the new interventional suites. The suites will the used for such conditions as coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, carotid artery disease, atrial fibrillation, heath valve disease, liver tumors, benign prostatic hyperplasia and uterine fibroids.

While no one is eager to have any of these types of procedures done on them, Kambic said people should feel comforted knowing the best technology is here.

He noted many studies have shown patients respond better to medical care when the patient is comfortable — meaning close to home and surrounded by family and friends.

Hospital staff have been training and preparing for the past two years while waiting for the opening of the refurbished wing.

“In instances where seconds count, we’re able to provide our patients with the best treatment available,” said Dr. Vikas Patel, interventional cardiologist and medical director of Cardiac Catheterization at Riverside.

“This is the next step forward in interventional procedures and we look forward to continuing to offer the most advanced care to our patients,” he added.

The unveiling of the four new interventional suites represents just over half — about $11 million — of the $20-million investment.

Kambic said the remainder of the project should be completed within one year.

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