New lab eases cardiac wait list pressure

An additional 1500 Victorians with serious heart issues will now be able to have life changing surgery each year.

A new cardiac catheter laboratory at the Royal Melbourne Hospital will be used for a variety of procedures including inserting pacemakers, stents and implantable defibrillators.

Cardiology director Leeanne Grigg said about 900 Victorians were waiting to have heart procedures at the Parkville hospital.

She said certain patients who needed surgery within three months instead had to wait up to a year.

"Some of them aren't able to do their day-to-day activities, so this will really dramatically decreased (the waiting list)," Professor Grigg said.

Almost 85,000 Victorians are currently on the elective surgery wait list, which is about double pre-pandemic levels.

The inflated figure is partly attributed to surgeries cancelled during the state's six COVID-19 lockdowns to free up health workers and beds.

Patient Nicole Cukierman was born with a heart condition and needs a valve replacement about every 10 years.

Previously she had to undergo open heart surgery, which took three months to recover from, but procedures carried out in the specialised lab reduced her recovery to about six weeks.

"It's a lot less invasive, it's a lot less stressful for myself and my family being able to get back to work and the activities I love a lot sooner," Ms Cukierman said.

The laboratory will open next week and it's believed about 1300 to 1500 patients will be treated there over the next year.

Acting Premier Jacinta Allan said the hospital's third specialist lab would allow for fast diagnosis, treatment and a better quality of care.