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Jul 26, 2022

K.H.M.H. Reopens its Cardiac Catheterization Lab

Today, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital announced that its cardiac program is now reopened for persons with heart conditions who need medical attention. Over the last decade, through this specialty, hundreds of Belizeans have benefited from this cardiovascular service, but it was put on hold over the last two years.  With an upgrade in equipment and training by international partners underway, the cardiac catheterization laboratory is now open and Belizeans will no longer need to travel abroad for this service. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

It’s a very exciting time for the staff over at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital because the tertiary care medical institution has upgraded and now reopened its cardiac catheterization laboratory. The cardiac program was dormant for several reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The rebirth of the program is dear to the Acting Director of Medical Services Doctor Adrian Coye, who is a cardiothoracic surgeon.


Adrian Coye

Dr. Adrian Coye, Acting Director of Medical Services,

“Excitingly we have a very upgraded cardiac catheterization lab, but with many other features. We can do vascular work, we can do pacemakers, we’ll be able to do a whole wide range of other types of interventions even for paediatrics. So this actually is a very exciting time for the hospital. Over the last two days, we have done nine cases already for diagnostic and one intervention.”


The program started almost ten years ago in partnership with the Heineman-Robicsek Foundation where over three hundred cardiac catheterizations, forty-six open heart surgeries and many other procedures have been performed. The newly upgraded laboratory provides the ability to advance cardiac care which is desperately needed in the country.


Dr. Adrian Coye

“The number one killer in the world is cardiovascular disease and Belize is no different. And that is something that somehow we get loss in the plot of all the news of the day and all the health issues, we can’t ignore the pandemic, but nevertheless, this still has not changed. And therefore having access to the technology and the skill sets that we are developing locally will create the opportunity for patients to be treated here in Belize rather than having to go abroad and incur huge expenses.”


Chandra Cansino

Chandra Cansino, C.E.O., K.H.M.H.

“What people might not do is relate heart disease to diabetes, to hypertension and those are very prevalent in Belize at this time so we want people to know if you have a non-communicable disease such as those, you are at risk for heart disease and so that increases the number of persons that we would see in Belize. And now indeed, they don’t have to travel anywhere else; we have a very good team here and thank you so much to the foundation for providing the necessary support and the necessary training that the staff will need and so that you can be comfortable that you can get diagnosed for heart disease here and be treated.”


The collaboration helps in building the capacity of in-house medical personnel.


Glen Kowalchuk

Dr. Glen Kowalchuk, International Cardiologist, Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute

“I’ve been coming here eight or nine years. Initially we had the lab outside; fortunately, we have this new more modern lab – really nice equipment and really exciting to bring this type of technology to the people of Belize.”


Chen Lin

Dr. Chen Lin, Cardiologist, K.H.M.H.

“It is quite a lot of pressure, but I guess I am just here at the right place at the right time to lean from the best. What I learned is treating patients, doing echocardiograms. This is totally different things; it is more interventional, different type of imagining. But it is a little bit hard to adapt, but getting used to it.”


Dr. Glen Kowalchuk

“We have ways to go. We plan to come down here once a month which I think is still inadequate. The hope is we are going to train Doctor Lin to be able to do these procedures and he is coming along very quickly, more quickly than I thought he would. And we are hoping that within the next year or two, he is going to be flying solo and be able to do this on an as needed basis.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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