Spotlight: Heart to heart

courtesy Rex Hospital

courtesy Rex Hospital

by Jessie Ammons

As Rex Hospital prepares for the annual Rex Gala Nov. 12 to benefit its new heart and vascular center, construction of that state-of-the-art center is well underway. “The design is based on research, best practices from other heart centers across the country, and input from Rex patients, physicians, clinicians, and caregivers,” says Dr. James Zidar, UNC Health Care’s heart and vascular service line physician in chief. The result prioritizes aesthetics and amenities as well as cutting-edge technology.

On schedule to open next March, the eight-story glass-sheathed building is already visibly distinct from the rest of the hospital. Inside, patient rooms include large windows and flat-screen TVs, as well as all of the latest necessary healthcare technology. The center’s outdoor courtyard features a waterfall, meditation room, and restaurant-like dining area (complete with a demonstration kitchen).patient-room

“Every aspect of the facility was designed with the comfort of patients and their families in mind,” says Zidar. “We’re treating more patients at Rex from across central and eastern North Carolina (than ever before).” He says Rex wanted to create a facility that could welcome patients into a hospitable environment after a long trek to receive treatment.

The center is also meant to welcome a wider community beyond patients and their families. An education center on site will play a role in that. “Dedicated education space will make it easier for Rex physicians to continue training physicians from across the country and around the world,” says Rex’s heart and vascular physician in chief Dr. Ravish Sachar. “We hope to expand education programs available for both patients and the community.” Outside of medicine-specific seminars, classes on heart-healthy meals and cardio-friendly lifestyles will also be offered.

The annual Rex Gala on Nov. 12 will benefit the new heart and vascular center. Tickets to the black tie event are $250 each and available at