Travis Air Force Base in California has been using equipment found in only four other hospitals in the nation. Surgeons at the USAF David Grant Medical Center (DGMC) in their Heart, Lung, and Vascular Center, have recently performed operations while using a new state-of-the-art hybrid Cardiovascular Operating Room (CVOR). The first surgery was performed at the CVOR in October.
The hybrid operating suite allows multi-specialty collaboration between heart and vascular doctors without relocating the patient to any other area. Cardiac surgeons, cardiologists and vascular surgeons are able to perform open-heart surgeries, vascular surgeries, and minimally invasive procedures in a single operating room.
“Hybrid procedures combine specialty operations that make surgeries quicker so patients aren’t on a heart and lung machine as long and leave the hospital quicker with fewer complications,” said Dr. Jerry Pratt, the Chief of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery at DGMC and the Chief Consultant to the Air Force Surgeon General for Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery. He continued to say “There will be some aortic valve operations that we’ll be able to do with the vascular surgeons simultaneously using the new technologies.”
The operating room, a joint venture between the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, contains robotic arm technology and 3-D imaging software that reconstructs images of the heart and vascular systems.
“For cardiac surgery, we like to use the imaging technology at the end of our bypass grafts, to enable us to look at the grafts after we’ve sewn them to the artery to ensure that they are functioning as they should,” said Dr. Pratt.
Traditionally, doctors would look at a cardiac catheterization before they operated, but there wasn’t technology available in the operating room that showed them where they needed to be on the artery. With this new imaging advanced technology, the surgeons are able to see if the graft needs to be moved or if we can do another procedure with the help of another heart or vascular specialist according to Dr. Pratt.
The operating room with the advanced technology also helps the nurses and technicians by making their job more efficient and they no longer have to move equipment in and out of the operating room since everything is already in the room. The set-up of the CVOR decreases the turnover time between patients from 25 to 35 minutes down to 10 to 15 minutes.