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Vascular Treatment In The Endovascular Suite

Vascular Treatment in the new Endovascular Suite

Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s (NGMC) Surgical Services features the endovascular suite, a specialized room which offers the imaging capabilities of a catheterization laboratory melded with an operating room (OR). The suite was added with the construction of the North Patient Tower and offers a hybrid approach to the treatment of vascular disease.

"The endovascular suite is another example of how NGMC is setting the standard for care in Northeast Georgia," says James Reeves, MD, vascular surgeon with the Vascular Center at NGMC and medical director of the endovascular suite. Comprised of both state-of-the-art surgical and advanced imaging equipment, the endovascular suite enables surgeons to perform traditional, open surgery and minimally-invasive, image-guided procedures simultaneously--something that previously was only possible at university hospitals," Dr. Reeves adds.

Treating Vascular Disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition similar to coronary artery disease, except it affects other vessels in the body—such as those in the legs or kidneys—rather than those of the heart. Symptoms associated with vascular disease include poor circulation from narrowings in the arteries and other conditions that can lead to strokes and aneurysms.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 8 million Americans have PAD, and nearly 75 percent of these do not have any symptoms. In addition, most people with PAD have a higher risk of death from heart attack and stroke. While many people with PAD can be treated with lifestyle changes, medications or both, in some cases, angioplasty or surgery may be necessary.

If advanced treatment is needed, the endovascular suite can be used for vascular interventions that require surgical exposures and catheter-based interventions simultaneously. Procedures that can be performed in the suite include carotid, renal and peripherial artery angioplasty and stenting, the treatment of thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms and the treatment of aortic dissection. The endovascular suite may also be used for treatment of traumatic injuries such as thoracic tears—an injury that can result from the impact in a motor vehicle or motorcycle crash.

The Suite Benefits

In addition to now having a dedicated room for vascular procedures, surgeons at NGMC can perform more complex vascular cases than were possible before the room was created.

For example, a patient of Dr. Reeves' recently had to undergo a repair for a thoracic aortic tear that was causing severe chest pain. "We were able to fix the tear in the aorta with a stent graft and quickly take radiological images of the repair to verify stent placement. Having a capability like this provides enormous benefits to patients."

Because this cutting-edge imaging technology and the sterile environment of an OR are combined in one area, procedures can take place in the same room, at the same table, without having to move the patient. For patients, the new suite means they spend less time in surgery and the hospital and return home more quickly.

Additionally, in certain cases, the suite allows a less invasive treatment approach. For example, Anuhema Whisenhunt, DO, a vascular surgeon with the Vascular Center at NGMC, recently had a patient who was in a car accident and required immediate treatment because of injuries to the abdominal aorta. Before the suite opened, the treatment would have been an open procedure in the OR, and the patient would have been in the hospital for weeks. However, Dr. Whisenhunt was able to treat the patient without open surgery in the endovascular suite using covered stents that allow blood flow to continue inside the body instead of leaking into the abdomen. The patient went home after a short hospital stay.

Endovascular Experts

The staffing of the endovascular suite is perhaps the most important aspect of the room. Because vascular surgery combines multiple modalities of care, the staff is cross-trained to meet the demands that arise in the suite.

"We have assembled a team of experts from cardiology, surgery and interventional radiology who provide a collaborative and unrivaled level of care to patients in need of endovascular treatment and services," said Dr. Reeves. "What's more, we've added a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week call team for emergent vascular cases. If a patient comes in with a ruptured aneurysm, for example—meaning they have lost circulation to their lower leg—the team will be called in, along with the physician, for an emergency procedure."

The addition of 24-hour call, along with the suite itself, means that complex cases that may have had to go to Atlanta-area hospitals previously can now be treated at NGMC. "There's nothing better than being able to receive most advanced forms of medical treatment--close to home. The endovascular suite at NGMC enables patients to do just that."

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