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January 19, 2011

UVA opens state-of-the-art operating room for heart patients

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The University of Virginia Health System has opened a state-of-the-art operating room for heart patients. Called a hybrid OR because it combines cutting-edge imaging technology with the function of a standard operating room, it is the first of its kind in Central Virginia and one of only a few in the nation.

“The hybrid OR is a significant advancement in heart care at UVA,” says Scott Lim, MD, co-director of the UVA Cardiac Valve Center. “We now have the best view of the patient’s heart during surgery that technology allows, and for patients, that means safer surgeries, fewer corrective surgeries and shorter hospital stays.”

Before the hybrid OR, patients would be transported between a cardiac catheterization lab, where their heart would be imaged, and an operating room. Many patients were also transported to a third location – a recovery room – between surgical procedures, greatly lengthening their hospital stay. The hybrid OR allows everything to be done in one room and allows surgeons to assess the procedure on a series of monitors as they operate. It also offers surgeons the flexibility to perform traditional open-heart surgery in conjunction with less-invasive techniques that involve using imaging technology to thread a catheter to the heart through a small incision in the leg. “This flexibility allows us to perform highly customized procedures,” explains Lim.

In addition to the advanced imaging technology, the hybrid OR also fosters collaboration among physicians. It is larger than a standard operating room. This allows for larger teams of physicians to work with each patient and the use of additional equipment if necessary, where before, a patient would often need to be transported to another room for a second procedure.

The procedures best-suited for the hybrid OR include minimally invasive heart valve repair and replacement, atrial fibrillation ablation and surgery, minimally invasive heart bypass procedures, ablation for ventricular tachycardia and placing stents to repair aortic aneurysms.

For more information about the hybrid OR, including a virtual tour of the space, click here .

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