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Published on October 10, 2016

New neighbors expand access to care

Hybrid lab allows heart and radiology specialists to share space and skills

Nazareth Hospital’s Interventional Radiology (IR) Department needed a new home. It had outgrown its space and was looking for an upgrade.

In another wing of the hospital was the cath lab suite. It was built to house two cath labs, but it only had one. There was an empty space waiting to be used.

The solution was simple: Combine the cath lab with IR. No need to build an expansion. It would just require IR to move from one area of the hospital to another.

Combining the two also made sense for patients

“This combination streamlines processes for patients,” says Geri Moyer, Patient Care Manager, Nazareth Heart and Vascular Lab. “They can go through pre-op and post-op procedures in just one area.”

But the biggest benefit for patients of the new hybrid lab is expanded access to heart, vascular and oncologic (cancer) care. Some new procedures Nazareth heart and IR experts now offer include needle-guided biopsies, oncology procedures, 3-D imaging, venous and arterial angiography, and the insertion of EP pacemakers/ICDs.

Similar procedures, similar goals

The specialists in the cath lab focus mainly on procedures where catheters—thin tubes—are threaded through a blood vessel to open up blocked heart arteries.

IR focuses on procedures where catheters are inserted into the body to treat other problems—like to open up blocked blood vessels in the legs or blockages in other parts of the body.

“We were doing similar procedures,” explains Mrugesh B. Patel, MD, PhD, an interventional cardiologist and Medical Director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Nazareth. “But those being done by heart doctors and those being done by radiologists were in separate portions of the hospital.

“The cardiologists and radiologists now use the same equipment, the same staff, the same recovery areas—and we save space, time and money doing it.”

Part of that equipment is a new high-tech x-ray machine—a Philips Allura Xper with Clarity IQ. “This machine allows us to really control and measure the amount of radiation exposure that patients and staff receive,” Moyer says. “Plus, the machine allows the radiologist to get a more precise and accurate location when doing procedures.”

Did you know?

Nazareth Hospital is affiliated with St. Mary Heart and Vascular. This relationship offers patients access to advanced heart surgical care and electrophysiology services.

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