Lee Memorial Health System has opened a state-of-the-art neurointerventional suite at Gulf Coast Medical Center, including a Siemens Artis Zee® bi-plane imaging system; expanding its capabilities to treat intracranial aneurysms, vascular malformations, and stroke, and offering patients advanced medical care close to home.
Lee Memorial Health System is the only provider in the region offering 24/7 life-saving neurointerventional coverage with a full team of specialists, support staff and two hybrid operating suites equipped with state-of-the-art biplane angiography systems.
“It’s reassuring to know that Gulf Coast’s unmatched level of commitment to stroke care is available so close to home,” explains Josh DeTillio, chief administrative officer of Gulf Cost Medical Center. “The new suite aligns with Gulf Coast Medical Center’s efforts to be designated a Comprehensive Stroke Center and the health system’s tertiary hospital for neurosciences, offering the highest level of specialized care in the region.”
As part of the neurointerventional suite, biplane imaging technology has improved patient safety by reducing radiation exposure and contrast load, as well as procedure time. During endovascular procedures the vessels of the brain are accessed through a catheter in the groin. Biplane technology produces 3D images of the blood vessels that flow deep into the brain, as well as guide wires and other surgical devices from almost any angle. This allows Gulf Coast Medical Center’s team of specialists the means to provide minimally invasive, life-saving treatment with remarkable speed and accuracy.
“Think of it like The Fantastic Voyage,” explains Nasser Razack, M.D., a neurointerventional radiologist at Gulf Coast Medical Center. “In the movie people shrink down into this little vessel and navigate through the body to break up a clot in the brain. Well that’s exactly what we’re doing. Obviously we can’t shrink people so we’ve shrunk the devices we use instead. In fact, some of the devices we use are the size of a human hair.”
By threading small tubes (microcatheters) and wires through arteries and veins, the neuroendovascular surgeon is able to treat the problems within rather than cutting through skin and bone to get to the lesion. In general, these disorders are treated either by closing (embolization) or opening (recanalization) the abnormal vessels. These minimally invasive endovascular procedures save many patients from traditional open surgeries and result in shorter hospital stays and recovery times as well as less pain and risk for complications.
Stroke is a leading cause of long term disability and death in the United States, killing nearly 130,000 Americans each year—that’s one of every 19 deaths. Cutting edge technology provides many advantages for patients and the surgeons working to save their lives, but without a great team in place the biplane is merely a machine. Gulf Coast Medical Center takes great pride in the team it has built and the world class care they provide. The hospital has worked diligently to incorporate national best practices to improve door-to-needle times, which is the interval between patients’ arrival to the hospital and the start of treatment.
“Our average door to needle time is 30 to 40 minutes – that’s half the national standard of 60 minutes for optimal outcomes. Patients treated at Gulf Coast are more likely to recover quickly and with fewer complications. It’s something we’re very proud of and care at that level is not achievable without a deep dedication to teamwork guided by evidence based protocols,” says DeTillio.