Sonographers and physicians at Saint Agnes are getting the whole story of the heart – with every beat – by using a pioneering 4D cardiac ultrasound system for patients with heart abnormalities. Saint Agnes is the first in the Valley with a 4D state-of-the-art transesophageal echo (TEE) ultrasound probe with full-color imaging, allowing for better visualization of heart anatomy during routine diagnostic exams and cardiac interventions and procedures. read more ...
Critically ill heart patients now have another minimally invasive treatment option. The Impella® – the world’s smallest heart pump – temporarily relieves the heart’s pumping function during life-saving interventions, allowing the heart to rest and recover. No bigger than a pencil, the Impella pump is inserted into the heart’s left ventricle through a catheter. The device then pulls blood from the left ventricle, and pumps the blood throughout the body. The procedure can be performed in a matter of minutes.
Central Valley patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation no longer have to leave the area to benefit from a new treatment option – the Maze procedure – that is now available at Saint Agnes. Atrial fibrillation, an abnormality of the heart’s electrical system that causes the upper chambers of the heart to quiver rapidly, occurs when the heart’s electrical impulse gets sidetracked from its normal path. Rather than sending an even signal to trigger the atrium to contract all at once, multiple signals are sent to different regions of the atrium, causing it to contract irregularly. During the Maze procedure, cardiothoracic surgeons make a number of incisions on the left and right atrium to form scar tissue, which disrupts the path of abnormal electrical impulses and prevents erratic electrical signals from recurring. Once the incisions are made, the atrium is sewn back together, resulting in what looks like a maze in which there is only one path for the electrical impulse to take.
What used to be invisible in artery walls can no longer hide with technology now being used by cardiologists at Saint Agnes Medical Center. Thanks to Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), a new diagnostic tool, cardiologists can literally see the anatomy of their patients' arteries from inside the body. Manufactured by St. Jude Medical, OCT is a leading imaging technology that aids physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease during cardiac catheterization.
Currently, fluoroscopy is the standard imaging technology used in catheterization labs and while fluoroscopy and angiography are useful for most cases, they cannot provide the anatomical detail that OCT can. OCT views images 10 times greater while projecting three-dimensional images, allowing cardiologist to identifying true density of a blockage, any anatomical defects or complex anatomy, or even hidden blood clots − all of which allows for better placement of stents, optimizing treatment during the catheterization and in planning future treatment.
Saint Agnes Medical Center is among a select group of hospitals offering the Revo MRITM SureScan® pacing system, the first pacing system designed, tested and FDA approved for use in the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) environment under specified conditions for use.
Prior to the Revo MRI SureScan pacing system, MRI procedures were not recommended for patients with implanted pacemakers because of the potential risks. Previously, patients might face serious complications if these two technologies were combined, such as interference with pacemaker operation, damage to system components, lead or pacemaker dislodgement or change in pacing capture threshold.
The addition of this new technology is timely − statistics show that the number of patients with pacemakers is growing while the use of MRI is increasing.
In April 2014, Saint Agnes became the first to bring a new nonsurgical treatment for high-risk adults suffering from aortic stenosis (AS) to the Valley. Called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), this treatment is specifically for AS sufferers who are considered high-risk or too sick to undergo open-chest surgery.
The TAVR procedure enables the placement of a collapsible aortic heart valve into the body via a tube-based delivery system that is inserted through either an incision in the leg (transfemoral) or through a small incision in the chest between the ribs (transapical). The valve is designed to replace a patient's diseased aortic valve without the need to open the chest or stopping the heart. For more information, click here.
The thought of chilling a patient's body to the point of hypothermia may sound strange. In truth, this treatment is increasingly being used as a lifesaving tool in hospitals around the world − including Saint Agnes.
Known as therapeutic hypothermia (TH), this cooling therapy is giving cardiac arrest patients a greater chance of survival. TH is considered an important therapy for a comatose survivor of a cardiac arrest − a patient whose heart stopped beating, was restarted during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and who remains minimally responsive immediately after the event. TH is endorsed by the American Heart Association and is performed by lowering the body temperature to 32-34 °C (approximately 90-93 °F). Normal body temperature is 37 °C or 98.6 °F. Clinicians use ice packs, cooling blankets and chilled intravenous fluids to lower the patient's body temperature, and carefully monitor him/her in the critical care units, where the patient remains in a drug-induced coma for 24 hours. The patient is then gradually re-warmed, and usually wakes within 72 hours.
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