An ongoing capital campaign at Hays Medical Center has contributed to the purchase of new equipment in the hospital’s two catheterization laboratories, and doctors say the upgrades are benefiting patients and staff alike.

Siemens Artis zee imaging equipment was installed last summer in both labs. The technology is designed to produce high-quality images with lower radiation doses, a fact that is important for the health of the patient and the medical staff members who are in frequent contact with the equipment, said Dr. Mohammed Janif, one of HaysMed’s cardiologists.

“The good thing about this is the radiation doses are low for us when we do cases, and images are excellent,” Janif said. “We can do lots of things right at the bedside. This is the best that we have right now in the industry.”

Another benefit is reducing the amount of contrast dye injected, a practice sometimes used in diagnostic cath procedures to improve imaging results. Because the advanced technology provides such clear pictures, dye likely will not be needed as often, he said.

“When you inject the body with dye, the kidneys have to process it,” Janif said. “It’s not the most kidney-friendly substance, so by reducing that, patients have better outcomes.”

The use of dye is not considered dangerous to patients with normal kidney function, but can present concerns if an underlying health issue is present, he said.

Other advancements include the ability for medical staff to move the surgical table up and down and increased weight capacity.

The technology also includes a large television screen used to project intravascular ultrasound images and enhance medical observation. Multiple images can be projected simultaneously, allowing the patient’s previous images to also be referenced as needed, Janif said. Previously, the images only could be displayed one at a time on a standard-sized computer screen.

The upgraded lab also gives physicians the opportunity to provide multiple types of procedures — including cardiac, carotid and peripheral artery catheterizations — using the same equipment.

“We can image the entire body with this,” Janif said. “Sometimes we can have basically a cardiac unit and a separate peripheral (leg arteries) unit, but this does both.”

The previous equipment was 12 years old — “an eternity in medical equipment years” when industry standards are constantly improving, said Jeff Brull, development officer with the HaysMed Foundation.

And it should last a considerable amount of time, especially since the equipment easily can be upgraded to allow for additional features, Janif said.

The cost was more than $1 million per lab, with the foundation’s fundraising efforts assisting in the purchase. A “powerful technology” capital campaign has reached its $3 million goal, but fundraising is continuing to help with additional costs.

Cath lab improvements were identified as a priority due in part to high demand. HaysMed last year performed a total of 1,500 cath procedures, 60 of which were emergency surgeries due to heart attacks.

That evens out to an average of approximately 30 cath procedures each week, and the need is not expected to diminish, Janif said.

Physicians and hospital administrators went through a year-long process to select the medical equipment that would provide the best fit. After touring other hospitals and teaching centers, the Siemens brand was selected in part due to the close proximity of maintenance and trouble-shooting services in Salina, Janif said.

Patients throughout much of western Kansas rely on HaysMed for cardiac care, and it’s imperative the potentially life-saving equipment be functional at all times.

“For us to be in Hays, Kan., if something goes wrong, we want it very easy for someone to come and fix it,” Janif said. “Servicing was a big thing for us.”

“If you’re at home and your refrigerator breaks down, that’s one thing,” Brull added. “But if you’ve got a cath lab down and it’s needed, that is a much bigger deal. So service becomes infinitely more important.”