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Advanced heart care close to home

Mele Pochereva Heart Health

It's true that every minute matters when responding to a heart attack or other coronary emergency. Castle Medical Center’s multi-million-dollar investment in its Cardiovascular Services Department over the last two years brings new advances and expanded services, including advanced cardiac interventions and open-heart surgery, closer than ever for Windward O‘ahu residents.

Three new specialized facilities will meet the needs of Castle’s cardiovascular physicians for decades to come.

“The new Cardiac Catheterization Lab, hybrid room and cardiovascular operating room, now completely rebuilt and equipped with some of the most advanced technology in Hawai‘i, enables our team of cardiologists and surgeons to perform all types of procedures with greater efficiency, from advanced cardiac diagnostic and interventional procedures to thoracic procedures and open-heart surgery,” says Sonny Wong, M.D., F.A.C.C., a cardiologist who also serves as chairman of Castle’s Division of Cardiovascular Services.

The new Hybrid Cardiovascular Room is one of the most exciting additions for the department. It serves dual purposes as a cardiac catheterization lab and an operating room for advanced endovascular and cardiovascular procedures. One of the few such facilities in the country that is built for this purpose, it is designed to support a broad range of catheter-based procedures, the minimally invasive interventional procedures that use tiny stents, balloons and other specialized tools to treat blocked or damaged blood vessels.

The hybrid room is centered on a state-of-the-art Philips FD-20 Cardiovascular Cath Lab that provides brilliant two- and three-dimensional imaging to guide the surgeons and other specialists as they perform lifesaving surgeries. If the patient requires further open surgery, the room also is equipped as a full-service operating room.

“What makes this room so special is that it is designed to also accommodate most, if not all, open surgical procedures, if needed,” explains Michael Yee, MD, a specialist in interventional cardiology and the medical director of Castle’s Hybrid Room and Cath Lab. “It’s a combination of technologies shared in one room.

Give it a spin

The newest enhancement to Castle’s cardiovascular services is the top-to-bottom remodel of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, completed in early 2014. Like its hybrid cousin, this dedicated facility also is outfitted with the latest diagnostic and treatment equipment, including a new Philips FD-10 imaging system that brings unique capabilities to the cardiac team. Most notable is the system’s “spin,” or Xper, technology that can be programmed to make a full sweep around the body as it captures X-ray images—or angiograms—of the heart from multiple angles. This diagnostic procedure requires fewer injections of dye into the blood stream, lowering possible risks and side effects for the patient.

“The new equipment allows completion of very complex procedures faster and with lower radiation and contrast exposure,” Dr. Yee says.

The cath lab’s new cardiovascular informatics system digitally stores all of the images as they are taken, making them instantly available so they can be reviewed at a moment’s notice and easily shared with other specialists.

Of course, Castle’s services wouldn’t be complete without a highly skilled team of nurses and technicians who bring years of experience to the department. With open-heart surgery and other complex heart procedures now available at Castle, the hospital’s entire ICU heart team has received hours of specialized training in collaboration with the University of Hawai‘i School of Nursing’s new simulation lab. There they received advanced training in a variety of heart surgery scenarios and post-operative care.

It’s comforting to know that Windward O‘ahu is in excellent hands with Castle’s “state-of-the-heart” cardiology care.