A new operating room allows patients to undergo two procedures in the same setting on the same day. In December's Health Check, we meet the first patient to go through this in Nebraska, giving her another chance at life.
Eighty-nine-year-old Agnes Selfridge was facing a tough decision a year ago. She had severe coronary disease and severe mitral insufficiency. Could she handle undergoing two procedures on the same day? "I had blood leaking in my lungs and if I didn't have it done I would probably live a year, says Agnes.
Her extreme condition left her with minimal treatment options, but Dr. Ruby Sapathy, an interventional cardiologist, had a plan. She says Agnes was a perfect candidate for the new hybrid operating room at Omaha's Bergan Mercy Hospital. They could fix her heart valve problems and clear her blocked arteries.
"When you can go in through a smaller incision, repair the valve that you are seeing right now and at the same time I went in through the groin and stented her vessel, says Dr. Sapathy, who adds the hybrid operating room allows elderly patients to spend less time in the OR and less time on the ventilator. But the key to doing two procedures is the surgeon and the interventionist have to agree.
"The reason you have to do a lot of planning, we do a lot of blood thinners as interventionists when we put stents in, so stents do clog up, but surgeons don't like blood thinners because you can bleed, says Dr. Sapathy. "There has to be a fine balance."
Careful planning in Agnes's case paid off. She only spent three days in the hospital and, now a year removed, is back to doing the things she loves. "If my friends go to bingo on Monday, I can go.
Dr. Sapathy says that when it comes to deciding who is a candidate, there are a lot of factors. That's why surgeons and interventionists come up with a plan together.