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Pittsburgh Heart Center to Open Monday

PITTSBURGH -- Registered nurse Bethany Husband has found her work in the emergency room at The West Penn Hospital-Forbes Regional Campus a rewarding experience.

So when Husband, 28, of Plum heard that the hospital was going to open a heart and vascular center inside the Monroeville facility, she jumped at the chance to be a part of it.

"It's really exciting," said Husband, during an open house for the Ed Dardanell Heart & Vascular Center.

The heart center is scheduled to open Monday and is part of a $24 million expansion-and-renovation project that included a new maternity unit and expanded emergency department.

The center, named for one of the hospital's earliest supporters, has facilities to detect and treat heart abnormalities, including two cardiac procedure rooms for catheterization, coronary intervention and peripheral procedures; two large operating rooms designed for cardiac and other advanced surgical procedures; and a dedicated cardiothoracic intensive care unit adjacent to the operating and cardiac procedure areas.

Previously, patients from Pittsburgh's eastern suburbs had to travel to hospitals in Oakland or elsewhere for these procedures.

The intensive care unit contains eight beds, each in an individual room. The rooms have more space than those in traditional intensive care units to allow for family members to visit.

"Strong family ties help with the healing process," said Tom Moser, chief operating officer of West Penn's Forbes Regional Campus.

Emergency medical service workers who recently took a tour of the heart center said it will benefit the patients they transport to Forbes.

"They will get first-rate care in a shorter period of time," said Tom Izydore, operations manager of Plum Emergency Medical Services. "It is awe-inspiring to see this treatment and care available in our back yard."

Emergency medical technicians from Monroeville Volunteer Fire Co. Station 5 on Seco Road praised the proximity of the center.

"It will benefit the eastern suburbs," said Alan Hitchen, emergency medical technician.

Dardanell, the man for whom the center is named, is the founder of Dardanell Publications, a chain of local newspapers that later became Gateway Publications and is now part of Trib Total Media. Dardanell donated $1 million toward its completion and led the effort to raise additional money.

Hospital officials say Dardanell helped to establish the first hospital in the eastern suburbs and headed the committee that eventually named it Forbes Health Center.

The expansion-and-renovation project has been financed through a combination of state grants and private money raised by Forbes Health Foundation.

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