Denver Heart
October 08, 2018

Denver, CO, October 08, 2018 --(PR)-- Rose Medical Center unveiled the first of three new Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories (Cath Labs) in early July, 2018. The state-of-the-art labs are part of a multi-million dollar investment the hospital has made in enhancing the delivery of cardiovascular services.

The Cath Lab Suite, which includes the new labs, also boasts an eight-room Cardiac Patient Care Unit (CPCU), a physician reading room, nurses station, offices and a dedicated visitor waiting area.

“One of our goals was to consolidate our resources into a central location,” says Lauren Meehan, nurse manager of the Cath Lab at Rose, who was thoroughly involved in the new build. “In our new suite, we have all the elements of care that a cardiovascular patient might need just around the corner.”

This consolidation of resources allows cardiovascular patients with planned outpatient procedures to have their entire hospital experience on a single unit, from admission to procedure to recovery and same-day discharge—a convenience the hospital hopes will decrease stress for patients and their loved ones.

Location, location, location

The location of the new Cath Lab Suite is strategic. Moved from its previous location on the 4th floor of the hospital, the unit now lives on the main level planted squarely across the hall from the Emergency Department.

“This is a big deal,” says Meg Austin, M.D., chief medical officer at Rose. “Positioning our Cath Lab at such a close proximity to our ER means faster treatment for our patients in scenarios where every minute counts.”

Cardiac Cath Labs are used for a variety of purposes, but most fall into one of two categories. The first is for elective procedures—procedures that are planned ahead of time. The second is for emergent procedures—unplanned emergencies, like heart attacks, where immediate intervention is required. For emergent cases, getting to the Cath Lab quickly is crucial.

“Our Cardiac Alert program is designed to help our teams prepare for a patient before they even arrive at our facility,” says Austin. “We want to do everything we can to make sure we provide treatment as fast as possible. Putting our Cath Lab just steps away from the ER gives us the advantage of time.”

Rose Medical Center is the only facility in Denver with the Cath Lab located right across the hall from the Emergency Department, Austin says.

Getting technical

The largest and most versatile of the three new labs is the Hybrid Room, a lab that combines the unique capabilities of the Cath Lab with the enhanced specifications of an operating room. As both, a fully-capable OR and a fully-capable Cath Lab, the Hybrid Room allows clinicians from across disciplines to work in conjunction on challenging, complicated cases.

Inside all of the rooms—Hybrid Room included—is an arsenal of the latest equipment and technology on the market. Technology like SyncVision, which shows a single blood vessel from two different perspectives in real time.

“In short, it combines two imaging modalities—an X-ray image with an ultrasound image—which allows us to see two things simultaneously,” says Andrew Burke, Cath Lab supervisor at Rose. “Using contrast, the X-ray shows us the quality or strength of blood flow through a vessel. At the same time, the ultrasound is showing us the inside walls of that same vessel, which helps us further evaluate its condition.”

Alan Pollack, lead tech in the Cath Lab at Rose, has been impressed with the technology. “It gives us a very clear picture of what is happening within the artery and how it affects blood flow,” he says. “With this understanding, we can be much more precise with the treatment we provide our patients.”

Burke and Pollack are among a somewhat exclusive group of clinical specialists in the region. Both are credentialed as Registered Cardiac Electrophysiology Specialists (RCES) and Registered Cardiac Interventional Specialists (RCIS). The pair are two of only 12 specialists in the state of Colorado to hold both credentials, according to publicly-available data from Cardiovascular Credentialing International, the credentialing body.

Branching out

Before a new tool or technique becomes commonplace in hospitals around the country, it relies on facilities like Rose for early implementation. When expert physicians are backed by strong Cath Lab teams willing to branch out, a new idea has the opportunity to demonstrate its value to the market before it is driven into the mainstream.

The excimer laser system is among such new-age treatment tools that the Cath Lab at Rose has embraced ahead of the curve, and they are using it on a weekly basis.

“The laser is a really remarkable piece of equipment,” says Sameer Mehta, M.D., an interventional cardiologist with Denver Heart at Rose. “It gives us another option for patients who have been unable to benefit from more traditional treatment methods.”

Laser thrombectomy, Mehta explains, is a procedure in which the laser is used to clean out blood vessels that have dangerous buildup. For patients with blocked vessels who are unable to undergo surgery, this less-invasive option is highly appealing.

“One of the ways you would treat this is by opening up the vessel to clean it out,” says Mehta. “You could also bypass a blocked vessel to reestablish strong blood flow. Both of these options require surgery, and for some patients these types of treatments might be too risky.

“With the laser, we access the blood vessel through a catheter. This allows us to apply treatment to the vessel from within, which is done by carefully guiding the tip of the laser through areas with blocked or restricted blood flow. It’s a much less invasive approach that yields impressive results, and we can use it to tackle complex cases with greater success. It’s an option I’m excited to have for our patients.”

Forward thinking

Advancing treatment methods is often driven by the need to offer patients new care options when they have exhausted all others. Hybrid ablations and left atrial appendage closures (LAAC) are among other alternative treatments the Cath Lab at Rose has helped pioneer.

“Our job is to work with our physicians to make sure our patients are receiving treatments that best suit their unique needs,” says Heather Harris, director of Heart and Vascular Care at Rose. “To do that effectively, we need to have a full gamut of care options available to our patients.”

For patients with persistent atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm), or for patients unable to remain on blood thinners used to reduce the risk of stroke, hope can come in the form of alternative treatments like hybrid ablation and LAAC procedures, respectively.

“At Rose, we take a lot of pride in the quality of care we provide to our patients,” says Harris. “We also take pride in embracing and affecting meaningful change. Our new Cath Lab Suite is just the latest example of our mission to continue offering the very best in patient experience while maintaining our commitment to clinical excellence.”

Underscoring a long history of emerging at the forefront of medical care, the new Cath Lab at Rose Medical Center is both a demonstration of prominence and an investment in the future.