By Cheryl Alexander | Photos By The Teal Album
Those with real or potential heart and vascular conditions may already be familiar with the kind of personalized care available at Baylor Scott & White (BSW) Medical Center – Lake Pointe. They are known for their comprehensive invasive and noninvasive diagnostic, interventional, and rehabilitation services, and a multidisciplinary staff who understands the importance of providing accurate diagnosis, effective treatments, and the right skills to manage heart and vascular disease.
What you may not know, though, is that the facility has recently expanded to include a Cath Lab. This is not your average Cath Lab, however. BSW Lake Pointe entered into a collaboration with BSW the Heart Hospital – Plano to provide even more exceptional care for patients in their service area.
The Cath Lab at BSW Lake Pointe brings together the best of surgical and interventional technologies. It facilitates the performance of diverse operations on the same patient at the same time by combining a traditional operating room with an image-guided interventional suite. It also combines teams to form a multi-disciplinary group of clinicians prepared to meet patients’ complex, advanced surgical needs. In this new space, angiograms and heart-related procedures take priority.
Srinivas Gunukula, MD, FACC, medical director of cardiovascular services at BSW Lake Pointe, explained, “We successfully treat many types of patients with a variety of heart issues here. We provide cardiac catheterizations to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions such as irregular heartbeats and clogged arteries. We also do electrophysiology (EP) procedures to assess a heart’s electrical activity and to diagnose abnormal heartbeats or arrhythmia. Additionally, we perform peripheral vascular procedures to open blocked arteries in areas other than the heart, such as the neck, arms, legs, and abdomen (peripheral arteries). Left untreated, this condition can cause strokes, leg pain, kidney problems, and high blood pressure.”
As well, doctors at BSW Lake Pointe Cath Lab perform endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), which includes the placement of a stent-graft into the abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). In that situation, this lab is helpful due to the advanced machines that provide easy and accurate access to the stent’s placement.
“We perform minimally invasive interventional radiology (IR) procedures to diagnose and treat heart disease instead of having to use surgery for many conditions,” added Enas Al-Kassab BSN, RN, nursing manager, Invasive Cardiology / Cath Lab. “Some of the procedures administered are embolization, stenting, and biopsies, resulting in a shorter recovery time for patients.”
The main machine utilized at this lab is the X-ray that controls all the images generated throughout the procedures and connects all the other equipment. It can show different pictures/angles simultaneously with two sets of cameras working to give the best views of the surgeon’s work. With innovative technology, the picture quality is much better, and the amount of radiation and X-ray exposure is significantly lessened.
The X-ray machine also has the unique capability to send different images live to other hospitals, allowing real-time discussion during the procedure, so not only can the doctor receive guidance from other doctors, but the procedure can also be used for education purposes. This type of technology is not available in other hospitals.
“We have machines that help cardiologists and vascular surgeons perform complex procedures such as stent placement or the insertion of an intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP), which helps patients who are in shock by stabilizing their blood pressure,” said Dr. Gunukula.
The lab is equipped with machines accessible to a surgeon from a console when operating on a heart patient. Surgeons can determine if a patient has a significant blockage and can receive an accurate assessment of the blockage. They can obtain precise vessel measurements that help determine accurate stent and balloon size used throughout the procedure. And, surgeons can break up calcifications in blood vessels using a shockwave balloon.
“We have superior-quality lighting in our operating rooms,” added Dr. Gunukula, “including the vascular surgeons head lamps. This is important for all procedures.”
Patients at the BSW Lake Pointe Cath Lab receive the best care on the day of their procedure. After being admitted, patients are escorted to pre-op where a nurse gets them into their gown, begins their IV, checks their vital signs, administers pre-op medications, obtains required consents, and completes all required documentation. The doctor then meets with the patient, decides on the access approach, and informs the Cath Lab team.
Once transferred to the Cath Lab table, the patient is continuously monitored by the physician and team. The circulating nurse administers sedation and medications and provides all sterile supplies to the doctor throughout the procedure; the scrub tech assists the cardiologist; and the monitor proctors and documents the procedure. Afterward the patient is monitored in the recovery unit. The doctor talks to the family and gives the plan for at-home treatment. A follow-up is scheduled, and the patient is sent home. In-patient procedures are also available.
The relationship with Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano enables BSW Lake Pointe to work together with them on complex patient cases and further enhance patient care, allowing patients to remain close to home when possible.
“It has been a great partnership and is very beneficial to patients,” said Al-Kassab, “especially those at high risk or who need advanced procedures and need to be quickly transferred. Sometimes our patients need a bypass or valve, or other complex procedures, even aortic microvalve repairs and robotic bypass surgery. When we encounter this type of patient, we initiate the transfer immediately with no wait time, ensuring that the patient gets the proper care.”
With the same standards implemented at both hospitals, patients receive the best outcomes whether the patient’s procedure is done in Plano or at Lake Pointe. The doctors and staff at each location pay close attention to outcomes and take active measures to ensure great results and great patient and doctor satisfaction.