As Dr. William Moskowitz viewed the CT angiogram of his patient’s chest on a monitor, he touched the screen to rotate the image. With another touch, the rib cage disappeared, enabling him to focus on the patient’s arterial structure.
“This blue thing that we’re looking at, this blood vessel, is not supposed to be here,” he said. “It’s causing excessive volume load on her left ventricle.”
Dr. Moskowitz, Chief of Pediatric Cardiology and an interventional cardiologist who specializes in congenital heart disease, appreciates the improved visualization made possible by the GE Innova IGS 6201—a big, white machine with smooth-rounded corners that he calls “the Starship Enterprise.” The advanced x-ray system is among the state-of-the-art equipment and technology found in “EP3,” VCU Pauley Heart Center’s new electrophysiology/catheterization room that opened in September 2013.
“We often get adults and kids with complex physiology who have developed extra blood vessels,” he said. The new system “takes brilliant pictures. You get a three-dimensional picture that you can rotate so that you know exactly where the structure is so, for instance, you can plan precisely where to place a stent or device….You have the roadmap for the procedure before you even walk into the lab.”
The Innova IGS’s “biplane” system includes both a floor-mounted and a ceiling-suspended C-arm that allows for flexible, 3D rotational angiography as well as real-time fluoroscopy. The enhanced visualization makes for easier imaging, resulting in lower doses of radiation for patients. The system’s flexibility means that diagnostic imaging and interventional procedures can take place in the same room.
EP3 is the first of seven state-of-the-art GE labs that VCU Pauley Heart Center plans to roll out by 2015 to meet the increasing demands of its patients and those of VCU Children’s Hospital of Richmond. The $24 million project will include three electrophysiology labs and four cardiac catheterization labs. The planning of the project involved the extensive participation and feedback of Pauley Heart Center physicians and staff, said Kathryn Perkinson, RN, Pauley’s Nursing Director and the project’s manager.
Perkinson said the labs will be connected to each other through a consistent platform, but “there will be components to each of these labs that will be unique to each discipline, whether it’s pediatrics, electrophysiology, general catheterization, or structural heart disease.” Each lab will be self-sufficient, she said. “We won’t have to roll individual pieces of equipment around from room to room.”
The project will include a hybrid cardiac catheterization/operating room that will be the first of its kind on the East Coast. The room’s Discovery IGS 730 system will include a gantry with flexible positioning that will enhance the heart center’s ability to perform innovative procedures, such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), in a cath lab setting.