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UNC-Rex set to move patients into 'state-of-the-art' heart center

Posted March 2

— This weekend, UNC-Rex Healthcare will open its $235 million North Carolina Heart and Vascular Center, a state-of-the-art facility that leaders say is ready for the "future of serving heart patients."

The new facility, which is located at UNC-Rex Healthcare's Raleigh campus, is eight stories tall, includes 114 patient rooms and was designed with healing in mind.

Whether visitors are in a patient room, one of the many waiting areas or even coming out of the elevators, they'll notice big windows and plenty of natural light.

"We know that natural light improves healing time and makes you feel better," project manager Chad Lefteris said.

Lefteris said the expanded options for visiting family members will also contribute to patient healing.

Donated pieces of art created by North Carolina artists fill the walls and outdoor spaces at the facility.

Lefteris says the design is based on research and best practices from other heart centers across the country as well as input from patients, physicians, clinicians and caregivers.

New procedure rooms are 20 to 25 percent larger than those in the current hospital.

Dr. George Adams, an interventional cardiologist, says new rooms such as a hybrid catheter lab will prevent some patients from having to move between procedure rooms.

"So, those patients who need both an endovascular procedure and an open surgical procedure at the same time, both the disciplines can come together in one place," Adams said.

The facility is also equipped for training cardiology students who can watch procedures from rooms or from off-site with live video streaming.

A new conference center includes a patient stimulation lab and a demonstration kitchen for teaching heart-healthy cooking techniques.

The cafe in the facility doesn't offer standard hospital food.

Patients and services will transition from the old facility to the new one Sunday.

Afterwards, UNC-Rex will begin working on plans to repurpose vacated space on the existing main campus.

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