Heart and vascular diseases affect more than 71 million Americans and are the leading causes of non-accidental deaths among Alabamians.

UAB formally dedicated the state’s best-equipped, most comprehensive facility for the diagnosis and nonoperative treatment of heart and vascular disease and other conditions on Monday, June 19. The new 55,000-square-foot UAB Heart and Vascular Center, a $33 million facility, occupies nearly an entire floor of UAB Hospital, features 13 state-of-the-art procedural labs, including labs for pediatric cardiology patients and 26 private rooms for post-procedure recovery. In addition, room for future growth is designed into the area.

“The UAB Heart and Vascular Center represents a new era in heart and vascular care for Alabama residents,” said Robert Bourge, director of the UAB Division of Cardiovascular Disease and center co-director. “This facility, with its highly advanced technology, places UAB among the finest centers anywhere for minimally invasive treatment of diseases of the heart, aorta, liver and other organs.

“Operationally, we have moved from four separate buildings into one comprehensive unit,” Dr. Bourge said. “From a patient perspective, not only do we have the best cath lab in the state and one of the top 10 cardiovascular medicine and surgical centers in the nation, we now offer what we believe is the most convenient and technologically advanced center in the state.”

The new facility is the largest in the Southeast in terms of square footage and number of labs. It also is one of the few centers in the country to completely integrate multiple lines of health-care service within one unit. There will be five service lines within the UAB Heart and Vascular Center: vascular and interventional radiology, pediatric cardiology, interventional neuroradiology, diagnostic and interventional cardiology and electrophysiology.

The diseases treated by these groups include cardiac arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, coronary and peripheral atherosclerosis, acute myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), uterine fibroids, liver and gall bladder diseases, bone tumors and intracranial aneurysms.

Most advanced technology
“We have worked diligently to determine how best to provide care for all patients with cardiovascular and other diseases that is of the highest quality,” said Robert Koehler, chair of the UAB Department of Radiology and co-director of the center.

“In the new UAB Heart and Vascular Center, we believe we have not only created a facility to provide patients with the technology of the future, but also a facility of the highest quality to serve patients needing both routine and highly complex non-operative, catheter-based treatments.”

Occupancy of the facility by each service is scheduled for July 28.