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Health Information A New Hybrid for Heart Repair

Everyone's heard of hybrid cars that seamlessly alternate between gas and electricity for the sake of peak efficiency and better gas mileage. Now Rush University Medical Center offers a new cardiac treatment facility that couples the benefits of interventional cardiology with cardiothoracic surgery. The goal of this hybrid is not only efficiency and better outcomes; it's also about better quality of life.

The new bi-plane hybrid cardiac suite, one of only three facilities of its kind in the United States and the only one in Chicago, is for critically ill newborns, children and adults. The suite is equipped with the latest in continuous, real-time imaging technology and radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology that allows "all-in-one-room" care.

The suite allows collaboration between the surgeon and interventional cardiologist on complex heart problems. "Now, interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons working together in this suite will reduce the amount of time required to correct complex heart problems and reduce the emotional and physical stress placed on patients and their families – which translates into less pain, less scarring and a faster recovery time," says Ziyad Hijazi, MD, director of the new Rush Center for Congenital and Structural Heart Disease.

The hybrid suite is equipped with the latest technology for minimally invasive interventional cardiology that involves the use of a catheter and an image-guidance system to thread tiny instruments through blood vessels to repair the heart. Through these special catheters, physicians at Rush can implant stents, artificial heart valves and insert patches for holes in the heart.

In many complex cardiac cases, patients who would have no other option but to undergo open-heart bypass surgery can now have minimally invasive procedures that would otherwise not have been available to them.

"We can now communicate with colleagues and obtain their expertise in real time for very complex situations," says Hijazi. "If physicians decide another procedure is needed, even surgery, the suite can be converted into an operating room and the surgical team can be assembled in the new suite."

Unlike the typical set-up at most hospitals where the patient would have to be moved from one area of the hospital to another if additional surgical procedures were needed, patients at Rush will stay in one place in the new hybrid cardiac suite where all the imaging technology and implantable devices that might be needed are stored and located. Thus, patients undergo shorter and safer procedures that require less recovery time and rehabilitation, which can vastly improve patient outcomes.

"The hybrid suite provides us with a single, state-of-the-art location for diagnosing our patients and providing them with the most advanced non-surgical treatments available for heart defects," says Hijazi. "The additional ability it gives us to provide surgical treatments allows us to provide the most comprehensive care in the most sensitive manner for patients with often extremely fragile conditions."

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Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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