After a yearlong construction effort, the Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute at St. Mary’s Hospital celebrated its official opening this week with a grand-opening event and tours.

The $17 million project is part of a major expansion of Carondelet Health Network’s heart program on both the St. Mary’s and Carondelet St. Joseph’s campuses.

Nine of the 20 cardiac and vascular specialists employed by Carondelet have joined the network this past year, Carondelet said.

The new unit is on the first and third floors of St. Mary’s Hospital, 1601 W. St. Mary’s Road. It includes a dedicated cardiovascular intensive-care unit; a 21-bed, all-private-room progressive-care unit; a 34-bed telemetry unit; two cardiac-catheterization labs; three dedicated operating suites; an electrophysiology suite with cardiac-arrhythmia ablation capability; and an endovascular-surgical suite for complex aneurysm repair.

The new institute also features a hybrid operating suite combining a cardiac-catheterization lab and a cardiothoracic operating room.

Equipped with ambient lighting, high-tech equipment that dramatically reduces radiation exposures, and video streaming, the hybrid operating room is the only one of its kind in the nation, Carondelet said.