The hospital network's Bethlehem campus is the first U.S. site to use GE Healthcare's Discovery IGS 730, said Suzanne Winter, general manager for U.S. and Canada, GE Healthcare Detection and Guidance Solutions.
Hospital officials made the announcement during a news conference Friday and first put the device to use today.
“With this, we are well-positioned to address the growing trend in the United States for minimally invasive procedures,” said Winter. “It's really driven the growth of the hybrid OR need. We think the trend will continue.”
The equipment cost $2 million and was the result of a combination of many years of research and development, said Winter. With the new equipment installed, St. Luke's will be GE's national reference site for future customers, surgeons and interventionalists, she added.
The device, which earned FDA clearance in February, is equipped with a laser-guided system that allows physicians optimal access to patients, said Hal Folander, M.D., St. Luke's chairman for the radiology department and section chief of interventional radiology.
“It was designed to improve patient care,” said Folander.
The hybrid OR is not mounted to the floor or ceiling and can be moved anywhere in the room, said Folander. It is entirely sealed and designed to be a self-contained device, he added.
Since there are new ways of fixing problems with heart valves without making major incisions in a patient's chest, Folander said many procedures can be performed with this device without transporting patients to other rooms.
“A tether housing the electrical connection to the unit allows the system to float, providing an additional degree of freedom,” said Folander. “Its flexibility means the unit can also be moved completely out of the way and into multiple positions.”
Aside from its flexibility, the system also provides a large flat panel for precise 3-D acquisition and the wide C-arm can accommodate larger patients.
The device will also allow St. Luke's to teach what is truly cutting edge patient care for cardiovascular diseases, said Folander. The equipment also demonstrates how it would enable residents and to some extent, students to be trained in ways that provide state-of-the-art care to this community and patients in other areas, said Joel Rosenfeld, chief academic officer for St. Luke's University Health Network's graduate medical education programs.
In addition to complex vascular and cardiac procedures, the device can also be used in trauma cases, Folander added.
St. Luke's can also now minimize the invasiveness of the procedures, to get patients to recover quickly, said Tim Oskin, M.D., St. Luke's section chief for vascular surgery.
“This has been a fantastic way to deliver therapy to patients to replace the aortic valve,” said Oskin.
Folander said this device would most likely replace radiology equipment and is probably going to be the model of the future for these types of procedures.