The long-awaited mobile cath lab, which is seen as a step towards improved cardiology services for the South East, arrived at University Hospital Waterford last night.
The unit will cater for around 30 - 45 patients per week from the current outpatient list and is expected to make a big impact on waiting lists during its five months on site.
In a statement, Waterford Minister John Halligan, who has been involved in the campaign for increased cardiology services for the South East, said he believed the mobile lab will completely clear the backlog at UHW while in place.
The former Clinical Director of the South South West hospital group, Dr. Rob Landers has previously said that the mobile lab is a "sticking plaster" which falls short of round-the-clock interventional service.
Acknowledging that the mobile lab will not provide emergency cardiac care, Minister Halligan said the campaign for 24/7 cardiac cover in the South East will continue.
He said that the operation of the mobile cath lab at UHW will be used to strengthen the case that a permanent second cath lab is necessary to meet the needs of the region.
John Halligan has also said that a second review is to take place into the day-to-day cardiology needs of the region, adding that the presence of the mobile lab will demonstrate the need for a second full-time facility.