Sept. 30, 2014

Innovative cardiac operating room to open at Foothills Medical Centre

Hybrid combines traditional and less invasive heart operating procedures at one site
Illustration of the new hybrid operating room at the Foothills Medical Centre.

Illustration of the new hybrid operating room at the Foothills Medical Centre.

The first cardiac hybrid operating room in southern Alberta — combining traditional surgery with advanced, less invasive techniques — will open this fall at the Foothills Medical Centre in the McCaig Tower.

Traditional heart surgery usually involves opening the chest and working directly on the heart.

A less invasive option is endovascular heart surgery, done by inserting devices such as defibrillators, pacemakers, and artificial heart valves through the arm, shoulder, and leg veins. This method allows specialists to repair heart defects more quickly in a less invasive procedure. 

Sometimes both traditional and endovascular methods need to be done simultaneously; however, due to the lack of equipment, technology, and space in traditional ORs, this cannot occur. That’s where the innovative hybrid OR comes in.

“There is an increasing role for hybrid procedures in treating patients with heart disease,” says Caroline Hatcher, executive director of Cardiac Sciences, Critical Care, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Foothills Hospital. “With highly specialized equipment and infrastructure, the cardiac hybrid OR supports state-of-the-art cardiac intervention and surgery care for our patients.”

Through partnering cardiac surgery and cardiac intervention, medical professionals at the University of Calgary’s Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta will work together to complete procedures such as thoracic endovascular aortic repair, to repair enlargement of the large blood vessel in the chest, and transcatheter aortic valve implantation to replace the aortic valve by placing a new valve inside the original valve by passing it on a balloon up from the leg.

The operating room will include advanced monitoring devices and supplementary imaging/ultrasound equipment, surgical tables, and state-of-the-art X-ray equipment.