Posted: Jan 17, 2013 5:27 PM by Mitch Bryan
CORPUS CHRISTI - As you may know, February is congenital heart month when we keep in mind those who were born with a heart defect. Today, our Mitch Bryan takes us into the Driscoll Children's Hospital Cath Lab for an actual heart procedure during which they use some amazing technology that makes heart surgery much easier.
This is the Driscoll Children's Hospital's Catheterization Lab, or Cath Lab.
The patient on the table is a 10 year old girl from Pharr Texas. When she was born, she suffered from a congenital heart defect, and at only 2 months old, she had to undergo open heart surgery to repair the problem.
Today, she is back on the table after experiencing chest pains, so that Dr. Muhammad Kahn can see if there is anything that needs to be fixed.
"It used to be open heart surgery, stay in the hospital for about 3 or 4 days, no physical activity for about 6 to 8 weeks. With this one, they can go back to school the day after and usually there's not much restrictions," said Kahn.
The Cath Lab is filled with machinery, but this monstrosity is the crown jewel, the Toshiba Infinix CBI.
The imagers give the cardiologist different angles on the heart throughout the entire procedure.
"Whether it's in the heart, the brain, the arms, if we're looking at the arteries or the veins, anything in the body, this system can give an image of that," said Alan Fuertes, the Cath Lab Manager.
With the ability to easily view the heart from different angles, Dr. Kahn is able to use a small wire that is pushed up through the girl's veins and into her heart. Leaving behind a tiny pin prick, instead of a nasty scar.
"So, we would actually have to move the patient. To do some of the projections, we'd actually have to get a board and raise the patient up in order to take the pictures," Alan said.
Doctors say this method not only cuts down on scarring, it also reduces the risk of infection or mistakes.
"And turn what sued to be a lengthy surgical procedure, into a short hospital stay of one to two days," said Fuertes.
Less than an hour later, the procedure is done and the little girl's heart is holding up just fine. And with technology like they have at Driscoll Children's Hospital, it is likely she will go on to live a healthy, happy life.
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