Staff celebrate life-saving cath lab’s 10-year milestone

A PIONEERING service providing life-saving care to locals with heart conditions has reached an important landmark.

Tamworth hospital staff past and present last Friday marked the 10th anniversary of the Cardiac Catheterisation Lab’s opening. Established in 2004, the cath lab, as it is known, has treated in excess of 6000 patients who otherwise would have had to travel to Sydney.

The lab provides treatment to people who have had a “cardiac event”, such as a heart attack, or have coronary disease; 10 per cent of its patients are Aboriginal.

Since its opening, more than 5500 patients have undergone angiograms and 870 have been fitted with stents to keep their major arteries open.

Such facilities are rare outside major population centres – not only in Australia but around the world – and the lab’s success has proved a blueprint for other areas.

Despite the lab’s role in improving the health of rural patients, those involved from the beginning admit it was a titanic struggle to get the ambitious project approved.

Cardiologist Dr Suku Thambar, who has made innumerable trips from Sydney to Tamworth and back over the ppast 10 years, said he was proud to be associated with the lab.

“I have worked in a number of cath labs and I don’t think any of them have given me as much pleasure as I’ve had at this one,” he said.

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