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Hybrid Lab

A heart team needs to be ready for anything. And, they need the best equipment available.

When using a procedure to intervene with a heart condition, sophisticated heart specialists need to be have the facilities and equipment to offer catheter-based procedures when possible but be able to convert quickly to surgical interventions if necessary. Or, interventional cardiologists and surgeons may know in advance that they need to work in tandem or in different phases of the same interventional/operating room session. All this requires a special investment at a heart center to ensure the latest resources are in one place and that patients will not need transfer, for example, from a cardiac catherization suite to an operating room in the event that surgery becomes necessary.

In 2017, Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital established a new hybrid operating suite (and post-anesthetic care unit) to enhance its capabilities in heart procedures. The new hybrid facility combines the advanced imaging capabilities of a cardiac catheterization laboratory with the environment of a state-of-the-science operating room.

At the heart of the new lab is the biplane angiography system, a type of two-phase digital X-ray that constructs a real-time, three-dimensional roadmap of blood vessels and heart structure. The system is important for a number of advanced diagnostic and interventional cardiac procedures, including transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and implantation of devices such as the Watchman (for stroke reduction in patients with atrial fibrillation).

If the need arises, the hybrid lab can easily be transformed for open surgery, permitting the heart team to avoid having to transport the patient to an operating room or to a different team of specialists –– thus increasing safety and efficiency of the procedures.

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