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04 Mar 2011

BROOKSVILLE - Oak Hill Hospital announced new technology for cardiac procedures with the use of the Impella 2.5 Heart Pump by Abiomed, making the hospital the first to offer it in Hernando County.

Frank Guardiani, director of cardiology services and Oak Hill Hospital describes this type of heart pump allows for high-risk cardiac catheterization (cath) procedures to be done in the hospital, instead of referring those high-risk heart patients elsewhere.

Dr. Mowafak Atfeh, M.D., an interventional cardiologist in Spring Hill, was one of the first to use this device at Oak Hill Hospital's the Heart Institute.

"This new device enables us to do high risk procedures," Atfeh said, "as it makes those procedures result in better outcomes and are performed more safely."

The device provides circulatory support with a minimally invasive, catheter based procedure which is connected to a small pump to maintain the heart's function without the need for incisions.

"The pump keeps the blood flow (circulation) going during the procedure and provides help to the heart muscle by pumping blood through the device without using the heart," Atfeh said, "supplementing the traditional coronary angioplasty, which is too high risk for patients needing coronary bypass."

The Impella 2.5 heart pump temporarily helps reduce the "workload" (circulation) on the left ventricle of the heart (the main pumping chamber), while providing assistance to the heart's own pumping function, which provides adequate blood flow and organ profusion needed during the high-risk life-saving cardiac procedures.

The device makes it safer and possible to treat patients in an acute cardiac crisis, such as heart attack, myocardial infarction, and those whom are not candidates for coronary artery bypass surgery, Atfeh added.

Guardiani describes the device as a miniature pump, so small it can be inserted through the artery and placed inside the heart.

"The device can easily be inserted prior to the cardiac cath procedure, by an experienced interventional cardiologist in the advanced cardiac cath unit at Oak Hill," said Guardiani, "For critically ill heart patients who have run out of options, this device can provide hope."

The pump assists the heart's main pumping chamber to push blood throughout the body, up to two liters per minute," he added.

"It can allow the heart time to rest and recover from damage due to heart attacks and can give interventional cardiologists time to perform high risk life saving procedures, an example is opening blocked arteries," Guardiani said.

There are other heart pumps on the market, but most require surgery for them to be implanted. The Impella 2.5 heart pump is minimally invasive, and does not require surgery to be used.

"This device has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), since June 2008, and has been in use in Europe for the past six years," Guardiani said.

Cardiac Cath Lab expansion

In August 2010, Oak Hill Hospital was approved to upgrade one of its cardiac catheterization suites, by the Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA).

Richard Linkul, director of marketing at Oak Hill Hospital advises, this new room offers state-of-the-art technology with an expansion of the services being provided in the area.

"Overall, this addition adds to the Heart Institute's growth strategy," Linkul added, "making the cardiac capabilities more advanced in treating patients in Hernando County."

They have installed the latest in user-friendly, diagnostic and interventional angiography systems, the Innova® 3100 IQ.

The system offers high-quality, flat-panel detectors (FPD), publicizing superior technology in image quality and greater dose efficiency. The flat panels produce what they call "distortion-free images with uniform brightness for patients of all sizes."

Since obesity is a major contributor to heart disease, being able to view patients of any size is important in the cath lab.

Guardiani describes cardiac catheterization to be the most thorough, non-surgical test for identifying the location and extent of cardiovascular disease or disorders.

A catheter, a very narrow and soft (flexible) plastic tube is threaded into the femoral artery in the groin. The catheter is guided to the heart using this new x-ray imaging device, which is designed for a wide range of cardiovascular and interventional imaging.

"Dye injected through the catheter provides images of the arteries in the heart. It can show narrowing of the coronary arteries, or even blockages," said Guardiani, "These images provide the cardiologist with information on how well the heart muscle is functioning and whether their patient has cardiovascular disease."

The device can perform a wide variety of peripheral vascular and cardiac procedures, in a broad range of clinical applications, providing increased clarity in visualizing the structures of the heart.

Angiography is fundamental in detecting, diagnosing and treating heart disease, heart attack, acute stroke and vascular diseases. The trend of flat panels and other advances in the technology provides better quality of the images, than older systems, including ease of maneuverability and dose management.

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