Heart of the centre is not beating

PETALING JAYA: The Pusat Jantung Hospital Serdang (Serdang Heart Centre) was opened in December 2022, and was designed to reduce dependency on Kuala Lumpur’s National Heart Institute. But the heart of the centre is not beating.

Its four operating theatres cannot be used, as they are all facing maintenance issues.

The Sultan Idris Shah Hospital in Serdang (or Serdang Hospital), which houses the centre, still carries out two to three heart surgeries a day at its old building. Even then, only one of its four older operating theatres is operational.

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About a thousand patients who need heart surgery have been put on a long waiting list of several months due to the infrastructure issues, with only urgent cases being given priority.

The long wait could put patients in a life-threatening situation and some have asked to be discharged out of frustration.

Sources say the four operation theatres at the new heart centre were not functioning due to issues like faulty air conditioning.

“Meanwhile, at the old hospital building, there are four operating theatres. But there have been problems too. Since last week, only one theatre is still in use.

“We were running three operating theatres all this while because one had light and table issues and has been closed for the past two to three years.

“Earlier this year, it was reduced to two due to air conditioning problems. Since last week, we have been running only one operating theatre,” the source added.

A total of eight surgeries can be performed in a day if all operating theatres are functional.

“As for the new building, none of the new operating theatres has been used since the building was completed,” said one source.

“The patients wait for at least a year for an admission date. Due to the lack of operating theatres, they wait for days or weeks in the ward.

“Many have just lost hope of getting a surgery slot,” added the source.

The centre is one of the country’s main cardiology and cardiothoracic centres and receives referrals from all over the country.

The RM546mil new facility began operations in December 2022 and was aimed at speeding up treatment and shortening the waiting period for angiogram treatments.

Former Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said on Oct 17, 2022 that the new centre would shorten the waiting period from 18 months to just nine months for stable elective cases while emergency cases could be treated immediately.

He said the healthcare facility is equipped with a hybrid operating theatre – the first of its kind under the Health Ministry – and would benefit up to 250 cardiac patients per year.

The operating theatres are also equipped with sophisticated equipment which enables complex cases to be carried out there, he said.

The centre also has a coronary care unit, a paediatric intensive cardiothoracic care unit, an intensive care unit, an intensive cardiothoracic care unit and cardiac emergency department among others.

It was estimated that the number of heart procedures at the Serdang Hospital would double from 35,000 a year to 60,000 with the cardiac facility.

Apart from having 262 beds, the facility is also equipped with one unit of the Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) 3.0 machine which can provide heart diagnostic imaging four times clearer than a normal MRI.

A senior hospital official, when contacted, said the air conditioning in two operating theatres had been repaired as of yesterday and would be functional soon. Work to repair the other two is going on as well, he said.

The official confirmed that four cardiothoracic operating theatres in the main hospital buidling were affected due to air conditioning problem. Two out of these are now operational following repair works yesterday.

“The operation theatre at the heart centre block has yet to be operational,” the source said, adding that the contractors are looking into it.

The Selangor Health Department and the Health Ministry have yet to comment on the matter.

Apart from Serdang Hospital, there are 10 hospitals under the Health Ministry that have cardiology services, including seven which perform cardiothoracic surgeries.

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heart centre , Serdang Hospital


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