Hybrid Surgical Suite

The Texas Heart Institute is one of the first hospitals in the nation to operate in what is known as a hybrid surgical suite.

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Heart surgeons and cardiologists perform widely different functions but rely on one another's procedures to effectively treat patients. Now using a hybrid surgical suite, surgeons and cardiologists are able to work together, simultaneously on one patient. Dr. Denton Cooley is the founder of the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital.

"This provides the opportunity for both the interventional cardiologists as well as the cardiovascular surgeons to work as a team. In other words, not to work separately; one group working in the cardiac catheterization lab and the surgeons working in the operating room."

Using the hybrid suite, doctors can perform a bypass procedure on one artery while cardiologists can place a stent in another artery. Director of Surgical Innovations Dr. Ross Reul says even a few years ago, this kind of multi-disciplinary approach would have been unheard of.

"Up until a few years ago, most surgeons wouldn't accept a stent as an alternative to surgery in certain patients. And now with the advancements of some of these stents some of these other vessels can be stented safely with good results."

And the Institute's Adult Cardiac Surgery Chief Dr. Joseph Coselli says these hybrid procedures are much better for the patients in terms of less invasive procedures and recovery.

"You know certainly one thing that patients naturally demand is to have procedures, if at all possible, with less pain, less intervention, shorter hospital stays, less ICU stays, hopefully less expense and back to their lives or work in a shorter period of time. I think that's one of the things that this type of technology offers."

St. Luke's has two hybrid suites equipped for use. There are only two other such suites in the U.S., one at St. Vincent's Hospital in Portland, Oregon and the other at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...