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Unique in-house training centre

The University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht has five brand new cardiac catheterisation rooms where it can provide top-quality care using the latest techniques and medical developments. The Cardiac Catheterisation Department is also one of the few centres in Europe with its own unique training centre. This department will be opened formally on Friday, September 28 by the Queen’s Commissioner for the province of Utrecht.
The cardiac catheterisation department of UMC Utrecht sees about 3,000 patients annually. The department originally comprised three cardiac catheterisation rooms (CCRs), but has now been expanded with two additional units, one of which is hybrid. That means that the cardiac catheterisation room has all the latest technological extras that allow it to be used as an operating room as well. “Our hybrid room has an overpressure system that works for the entire room, not just above the operating table like the majority of ORs,” says Dr. Pieter Stella, medical head of the heart catheterisation department. “This gives the best possible guarantee of hygiene during procedures.”
The department has relocated nearer to the cardiology nursing and cardiothoracic surgery wards, next to cardiac monitoring. Dr. Stella adds, “Logistically, this is a lot better, both for the patients and the staff. Patients who were admitted via A&E with heart problems had to cross the hospital from one side to the other to be diagnosed. Now they go straight to the fifth floor, where all the cardiological care is centred. This is less stressful for the patients and their families. For us, in our role as care providers, it means that we can work more efficiently and respond even more appropriately in emergencies.”
International training centre
Lastly, the opening of the new cardiac catheterisation department also signalled the opening of an international training centre. Along with Rigstalet in Copenhagen, Denmark and Harefield in London, England, this centre is one of the very few in Europe that has its own Virtual Medical Simulator for educational and training purposes. “Using this simulator, you can practice heart catheterisations, balloon angioplasty and even percutaneous valve replacement (via the groin). A new program will be set up so that assistants and fellows will first practice on this simulator before they can start work in the CCR. We also have an area with a live link to the various rooms. Students, assistants and colleagues can watch the doctors remotely on big screens with a zoom capability. They no longer have to be physically present at a procedure in order to learn.”