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Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital Now Offers Hybrid Operating Room

St. Mary’s Hybrid OR is only one in Virginia to include robotic heart surgery

Aug. 26, 2013 – Hybrid operating rooms are considered the present and future of cardiac surgeries because they merge minimally invasive and traditional surgical sciences with advanced imaging technology. The carefully integrated environment of a Hybrid OR allows both diagnostic and surgical procedures to be done in one room, while also accommodating multidisciplinary surgeries. The new state-of-the- art Hybrid Operating Room at Bon Secours Heart & Vascular Institute at St. Mary’s Hospital is the only one in Virginia to offer robotic heart surgery.

“The Hybrid Operating Room enables us to improve patient care, outcomes and recovery time. It makes what we do better,” said Dr. Marc R. Katz, chief medical officer of Heart & Vascular Institute and head of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Program at Bon Secours Richmond Health System. Katz and his team designed and developed St. Mary’s Hospital Hybrid OR, and he performed the first robotically assisted thoracic surgery in the United States. He also implanted Virginia’s first left ventricular assist device and has performed over 200 heart transplants.

Hybrid ORs support a multidisciplinary approach, allowing physicians and surgeons from different specialties to work together to meet the unique health care needs of each patient. This maximizes collaboration between physicians and improves overall patient care. The hybrid OR makes it possible to perform procedures and surgeries under the most complex conditions, including those involving high-risk patients who are now candidates for treatment because of the new opportunities available in the hybrid OR.

Additionally, the use of minimally invasive surgery can reduce postoperative complications often associated with traditional surgery. This is particularly advantageous for elderly and other high-risk patients who might not be able to tolerate more extensive open-heart surgery.

The sophisticated medical imaging devices in St. Mary’s Hybrid OR include movie X-ray machines, fluoroscopy tables and ultra high-definition monitors. The high-powered, high-definition equipment enables the surgeon to perform delicate cardiovascular procedures with brilliant 3-D visualization. The variety of technologies utilized, especially this advanced imaging equipment, gives new meaning to the concept of a surgical theatre.

One of the major features in St. Mary’s Hybrid OR is a C-arm, an imaging system which takes cineangiography, or movie, X-rays of blood vessels. It is one of only two C-arms in the country like this, according to Dr. Katz. The Hybrid OR also features a 60-inch, 4K high-definition monitor. By comparison, a residential HDTV is only 1K. While the surgeon may be performing a coronary bypass, the 60-inch monitor can show one big image on the screen and also display the readouts for blood pressure, EKG and other vital signs. Four 27-inch monitors complement the larger monitor, ensuring that the entire interdisciplinary team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, technicians and others can view the procedure. The monitors also broadcast the operation to a remote site for additional doctors to view it.

Such advanced equipment allows surgeons to see the surgical area in fine detail and in real time so they can evaluate, intervene and assess the results of a procedure, leading to more accurate and better outcomes.

“We wanted to bring together a variety of technologies to improve patient care and achieve better, safer procedures,” Dr. Katz said. “The less invasive surgery provides a quicker recovery time. Many patients can go home in two days and resume their normal activities in one to two weeks.”

Dr. Katz and his team spent two years planning and designing the Hybrid Operating Room at St. Mary’s. The complex project involved several different vendors and the challenge of ensuring all their various machines would work seamlessly together. An adjacent room holds the computer hardware critical to the constant flow of patient data and clinical images that are generated and coordinated. The Hybrid OR is about twice the size of a typical operating room and took about two months to install.

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