Emanuel Medical Center will soon open its two new state-of-the-art cardiac operating suites, which have been over a year-and-a-half in the making.
The two Cardiovascular Operating Suites have been dedicated and named in honor of Justin Ferrari– a Turlock native, software engineer, and tireless advocate for the environment, who was killed last year. His parents, John and Jeanie Ferrari of Turlock, were major donors to the campaign that made the new suites possible.
Emanuel launched its cardiac care program in the spring of 2010 by opening its Cardiac Cath and Interventional Lab. Emanuel Medical Center describes the lab as being “a high-tech imaging and treatment facility where doctors perform complex catheterization procedures through a patient’s arteries to diagnose and treat heart conditions and other maladies.”
The latest additions to the cardiac facilities at Emanuel are a dedicated cardiac operating suite and what is described as a “hybrid” cardiac suite that combines a cauterization and interventional lab and operating room.
“Previously we had to transfer our patients out of the area if they had a problem during a procedure,” said John Sigsbury, President and CEO of Emanuel Medical Center.
“I think it becomes very complimentary to Doctors Medical Center (of Modesto, owned by Tenet Healthcare which is in the process of purchasing Emanuel Medical Center). The same surgeons who are operating in Modesto are operating here. They have a tremendous history and a great expertise in critical care, and so they are able to transfer a lot of that knowledge and experience to us here. It’s given us a great start.”
The new operating suites come with the latest in medical technology, with one specific touchscreen display approved by the FDA just a month ago, according to a radiology technologist at Emanuel.
“The heart has two factors: ‘plumbing’ –since 2010 we’ve been able to take care of that– the side that was missing was the electrical side. Your heart’s gotta beat based on electrical activity and that can vary and there’s ways of treating that, we just didn’t have that,” said Randy Jenks, Emanuel Medical Center Cardiovascular Radiology Technologist.
“Now we’ve got a certified electro-physiologist doctor and we actually have the newest equipment in Northern California. We’re going to be able to put forth the electricity side of the heart. Take care of people who have rhythms that aren’t sustainable, that are causing problems such as thrombus.”
The new technology will allow Emanuel Medical Center physicians to create 3D images of the heart, improving the quality of service.
“What happens is, when you have a very fast heart rate, the body can’t sustain [it],” explained Ron Evangelista, RN, BSN, CNOR, and Director of Perioperative. “They need to find out which of these are the good pacemakers in the heart, the beats, and which are the bad ones. What they do is they burn the bad ones so they don’t pace anymore and then they get it down to a regular heart rate that is sustainable for life, because if your heart starts beating at 200 beats per minute, that’s not enough blood flow for your brain to be able to function and eventually you will pass out and it’s not good.”
Evangelista explained that Emanuel can now diagnose and treat heart patients, whereas before the diagnosis was often made and patients were sent on to Doctor’s Medical Center of Modesto or other hospitals further away, such as the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.
Nurses and doctors are looking forward to being able to treat Turlock patients at the new suites, instead of having to send them on to those other medical centers. The variety of new technologies includes the latest computer software, but also improvements to other equipment essential to surgery, such as a multi-axis tilting table, display monitors, endoscopic cameras, and surgical lighting.
The tilting table allows doctors to better guide the catheters that open blocked arteries, install stents in narrow arteries, and perform a variety of other interventional procedures.
Display monitors are suspended from the ceilings on fully adjustable arms that allow for adjustments by surgical teams. The ceiling suspension also helps to keep the floor sterile for surgery, as do the floors themselves, which are not tiled or rolled out but instead poured to reduce cracks and crevices for easy sterilization.
Each display can monitor different aspects of the patient’s heart function or vital statistics for individual members of the surgical team, but the displays are also fully integrated with all of Emanuel’s imaging and information systems. Past imaging studies can be called up to the screens, or studies from other hospitals can be uploaded from disc.
The displays can also correlate at the touch of a screen to feature soft music and images of fish swimming through coral to provide a patient entering the room a calming welcome, identified as the “patient greeting.”
Evangelista explained that with the use of insufflators to open up space in the leg, endoscopic cameras can reach inside the patient and allow doctors to see inside as they work. Instead of fileting open the length of the leg as the procedure was done in the past, a single hole can be made to reach the artery. Emanuel doctors now have Stryker 1488 high definition cameras to see clearly inside the patient’s leg to remove the artery that will be used in the heart.
The surgical lights above the operating table hold circular banks of LED lights that are cooler in temperature than older surgical lights. The new LEDs do not dim over time either, as older surgical lights did. The main feature of the lights though, is their ability to sense when a surgeon leans in and blocks the light over the patient during surgery. Instead of casting a shadow, other lights in the bank compensate by lighting from a new angle so the surgical team is able to keep clearer vision. The adjustment of the lights is automatic so there is no delay in waiting for a shadow to disappear. Instead, surgeons can remain focused with cool, clear light.
The finished suites will open for surgery in February.