A digital rendering of a new hospital tower.
A digital rendering of the new heart and vascular tower, which will open at AdventHealth Littleton in 2025. Image courtesy of AdventHealth Littleton.

The team at AdventHealth Littleton is putting its heart into a new project to serve the region.

Opening in the spring of 2025, a new heart and vascular tower at the hospital will provide a full spectrum of cardiovascular services in one place.

“This tower will become a cardiovascular center of excellence that draws people in from not only our regions locally, but from our surrounding region as well,” said Dr. Matt Mendenhall, chief medical officer at the hospital. “It will allow us to expand into the most current innovative approaches to caring for complex cardiovascular health issues.”

The design for the new tower is based on the model of a dedicated heart hospital in another state, Mendenhall said, which creates a one-stop shop for the entire spectrum of cardiovascular needs.

“If you have any cardiovascular need of any kind, you can walk into this tower and receive the care that you need,” he said.

Tower plans

The new tower will significantly expand AdventHealth Littleton’s current cardiovascular offerings.

Its current plan has three floors, which will include a 24-bed cardiovascular intensive care unit, additional cardiac catheterization laboratories, a new cardiac diagnostics department, new operating rooms, pre- and post-procedural rooms, two hybrid suites and electrophysiology and interventional cardiology suites.

Mendenhall said patients who have needed complex cardiac surgery in the past have often been transferred to another hospital branch to receive that care.

“After we build the tower, the story completely flips around,” he said. “We will be caring not just for this community, but we will be caring for people that are coming in from outside of the community to receive the latest and greatest, most innovative, highest quality, cardiovascular care that is available.”

Jennifer Brooks, the hospital’s director of cardiovascular services, said the new tower will have its own entrance to the hospital.

“That’s important for cardiovascular patients because when their loved one drops them off or they’re coming in for their procedure, they get to be either dropped off or park very close to that entrance,” she said, adding that cardiovascular patients often have shortness of breath or can’t walk very far.

“We’re really trying to design this space and (have) it be completely nothing but patient-focused,” she said.

Importance of heart health

Brooks said cardiovascular services are especially important because heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people died from heart disease in the U.S. in 2021 than from all types of cancer combined.

“At some point in time, all of us will be impacted by somebody having cardiovascular issues,” Books said. “That may be having a heart attack, maybe they need a pacemaker, maybe they need a valve replacement, maybe they need open heart surgery — all of us will be impacted by that in some way, shape or form (even) if it’s not ourselves.”

The hospital partners with South Denver Cardiology Associates for their cardiovascular physicians.

The tower, which will cost over $100 million, will require the hospital to hire more physicians and other staff.

Beyond the basic importance of the medical services they will provide, Brooks and Mendenhall said they are excited to be able to provide these services close to where their patients live.

“To be able to serve our own community, we’re very excited,” Brooks said. “Right now we don’t have all of those services and so our community members do have to leave the community to get that care. And they won’t after this tower is built.”

AdventHealth Littleton already provides extensive care for patients facing epilepsy, cancer, neurosurgery, spinal surgery, orthopedic surgery and more, Mendenhall said.

Adding more cardiovascular services to that list, he said, is an exciting step forward.

“Building this tower continues to support our mission of providing the best possible care, in all of its forms, to the community.”

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