June 25, 2008 - A new cardiac treatment facility that couples the benefits of interventional cardiology with cardiothoracic surgery for critically ill newborns, children and adults has opened at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago. Toshiba's new biplane hybrid cardiac suite, which is one of only three facilities of its kind in the U.S., is equipped with the latest in continuous, real-time imaging technology and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology which allows "all-in-one-room" care. The suite allows collaboration between the surgeon and interventional cardiologist on complex heart problems. For example, fixing a very large hole in the heart can be done by inserting a catheter through a small incision in the chest rather than relying on major surgery to open the chest to reach the heart. "Now, interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons working together in this suite will reduce the amount of time required to correct complex heart problems and reduce the emotional and physical stress placed on a patient and their family - which translates into less pain, less scarring and a faster recovery time," Ziyad Hijazi, M.D., director of the new Rush Center for Congenital and Structural Heart Disease. The hybrid suite is equipped with the latest technology for minimally invasive interventional cardiology that involves the use of a catheter and an image-guidance system to thread tiny instruments through blood vessels to repair the heart. Through these special catheters, physicians at Rush can implant stents, artificial heart valves and insert patches for holes in the heart. In many complex cardiac cases, patients who would otherwise have no other option but to undergo open-heart bypass surgery can now have minimally invasive procedures that would otherwise not be available to them. "We can now communicate with colleagues and obtain their expertise in real time for very complex situations," said Dr. Hijazi. "If physicians decide another procedure is needed, even surgery, the suite can be converted into an operating room and the surgical team can be assembled in the new suite." Unlike the typical set-up at most hospitals where the patient would have to be moved from one area of the hospital to another if additional surgical procedures were needed, patients at Rush will stay in one place in the new hybrid cardiac suite where all the imaging technology and implantable devices that might be needed are stored and located. Thus, patients undergo shorter and safer procedures that require less recovery time and rehabilitation, which can vastly improve patient outcomes. Not having to move the patient to another location, having to administer anesthesia a second time, or having to wait to schedule a second procedure is all to the benefit of the patients. "The hybrid suite provides us with a single, state-of-the-art location for diagnosing our patients and providing them with the most advanced non-surgical treatments available for heart defects," said Dr. Hijazi. "The additional ability it gives us to provide surgical treatments allows us to provide the most comprehensive care in the most sensitive manner for patients with often extremely fragile conditions." About the hybrid cardiac suite technology The new hybrid cardiac catheterization suite has the most advanced imaging technologies and can still get a precise, optimal image of any region of the heart regardless of the size or complexity of congenital heart disease. The imaging system also features eight-inch cardiac flat panel detectors designed to deliver distortion-free images. The suite also includes intravascular ultrasound machines, which takes real-time images to allow physicians to see the progress of the procedure taking place inside the patient's body. A high-tech, automated clinical resource management system located in the suite stores and tracks the medication, surgical tools, medical devices, and implantable devices and supplies using the latest RFID enabled technology. For more information: www.rush.edu
Hybrid Cath Lab Combines Nonsurgical, Surgical Treatments
A pig heart, shown here, is very similar in size and anatomy to a human heart. For this reason, pigs are used extensively in pre-clinical animal testing for new implantable cardiovascular devices. If pig hearts could be used for human transplantation, it would greatly alleviate shortages of donor human hearts.