News | February 18, 2015

Grey’s Anatomy Performs the Heart Institute’s McGinn Technique

Show draws attention to minimally invasive alternative to traditional bypass surgery

MICS-CABG, Grey's Anatomy, Heart Institute, McGinn Technique

February 18, 2015 — Looking to “bypass the ordinary,” during last week’s episode titled: “The Bed's Too Big Without You,” the Grey’s Anatomy team at Seattle Grace Hospital was challenged with treating a radical tumor in the chest. After printing a 3-D model of the surgical area, Dr. Alex Karev commented that the best course of action to access the chest and successfully remove the mass would involve “the McGinn technique.”

What Dr. Karev didn’t explain is that the McGinn technique is a minimally invasive approach that gains access to the heart without a zipper incision and need for a heart-lung machine.

Also know as minimally invasive cardiac surgery/coronary artery bypass grafting (MICS CABG), the technique is an “off-pump,” continuously beating multivessel coronary artery bypass surgery pioneered by Joseph McGinn, M.D., at the Heart Institute.

“Even though this is a fictional scenario, the essence is that patients can do better with less invasive procedures like ours. Physicians can apply solutions in very dire situations with decreased surgical trauma,” McGinn explained. “A patient can only tolerate a certain amount of tissue damage during any procedure, so in the scenario that the show depicted, an approach that minimizes injury is a must.”

“Most of the bypass surgeries done in this country right now are done in a traditional way: The large incisions (7 inches) are created in the front of the breast bone (developed in the 1960s), where the heart is completely stopped, and then the bypasses are created. Our approach allows surgeons to work between the ribs (without breaking bone) through a 2-inch incision,” said McGinn.

 “There’s no question that this adds to the validity of our approach that not only are other physicians starting to use it, but it’s gotten out there that patients and lay people are looking for it too,” he added.

“Our clinical findings and published data is proving more and more the benefits of MICS CABG,” said McGinn. “People want less invasive, people don’t want a big old incision, and they don’t want their chest cracked open — that’s the reality of life, and we’ve been able to deliver that to our patients.”

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