Seattle Children’s Heart Center has a new, state-of-the-art home in Forest B, the 310,000-square-foot addition to Seattle Children’s hospital campus specifically designed for transformative, patient-centered care.

Dr. Brian Morray, director of Seattle Children’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories, confers with a cardiac patient in one of Forest B’s new spaces.

The Heart Center occupies nearly 30,000 square feet on the sixth floor of the new building. The dedicated space doubles the number of operating rooms (ORs) devoted to cardiac patients and co-locates the cardiac induction rooms, ORs, catheterization labs, postanesthesia care unit (PACU) recovery rooms and cardiac intensive care unit (ICU) into what is known as the Heart Center Suites. Although the cardiac ICU is technically located in Forest A, it is separated from the ORs by a three-foot walkway.

This co-location of services greatly reduces patient transport time and facilitates those times when a patient needs to go quickly from the catheterization laboratory to surgery or from surgery to a catheterization lab.

Dr. Brian Morray, director of Seattle Children’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories, said, “With the new facilities, it’s now just a matter of literally moving the child to the room adjacent rather than down the hall or going to a different building. In co-locating those services, I think we will really enhance patient outcomes and improve patient safety.”

The new co-located space also enhances the relationship between cardiology and cardiac surgery. According to Morray, “It enables our skillset to enhance surgical outcomes, and the surgical skillset can enhance our outcomes in the cath labs. And that’s a very important and unique feature of this new space that isn’t found in many other pediatric facilities.”

A focus on patient safety

Seattle Children’s Heart Center is one of the top ranked programs of its kind in the United States. The Heart Center team includes more than 70 board-certified pediatric surgeons and cardiologists who treat children from before birth through young adulthood with all kinds of heart defects — from the most common to the most complex and rare. Our team performs more complex pediatric heart procedures than any other provider in the region and is rigorously focused on safety and achieves some of the top patient outcomes in the nation.

One of the Heart Center’s new state-of-the-art operating rooms

To ensure a safe environment in the new Forest B Heart Suites, the air supply for the ORs and catheterization labs is filtered through HEPA (99.97%) filters twice, once at the air handling unit prior to the air entering the duct system and a second time in the ceiling of each room just before the air enters the space. Washington state code calls for one level of MERV 14 (90 to 95%) filtration in operating room environments either at the air handling unit or at the room.

“This new building exceeds all of the normal standards to make sure our patients are safe,” said Dr. Michael McMullan, division chief of Congenital Cardiac Surgery and co-director of the Heart Center at Seattle Children’s. “The fact that the ventilation goes so far beyond the standard is just one more example of how we’ve gone all out to build the safest and most technologically advanced facility.”