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State of the heart at Jackson

For some patients, minimally invasive mitral valve surgery will mean a shorter hospital stay, less pain and faster recovery time.

Advances in technology have made minimally invasive mitral valve surgery a reality at Jackson Hospital. Now, instead of a 9-inch sternotomy or splitting of the breastbone, a small, 3-inch incision can be made on the right side of the chest, adjacent to the nipple.

There are three common techniques being used on heart patients at Jackson Hospital:
  1. Robotic mitral valve repair.
  2. Thoroscopic assisted mitral valve repair.
  3. Direct visualization on a fibrillating heart.
“Comparing the three techniques, each one has its advantages and disadvantages, and each technique has different inclusion and exclusion criteria,” said Stephen Kwan, MD, of Capital Cardiothoracic, P.C., in Montgomery. “Some patients may qualify for one technique and not the others.”

These techniques are not for all surgeons and patients. Still, for some patients, minimally invasive mitral valve surgery will mean a shorter hospital stay, less pain and faster recovery time, Dr. Kwan said.

Robotic mitral valve repair

Robotic mitral valve surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery in which the surgeon uses a specially designed computer console to control surgical instruments attached to robotic arms. The robotic arms are inserted through a 1- to 2-centimeter incision in the right side of the chest. The surgeon’s hands control the movement and placement of the instruments that perform the procedure.

Robotic mitral valve surgery provides the surgeon with an undistorted, three-dimensional view of the surgery site with the use of a special camera. This procedure allows surgeons to perform complex repairs without the need for dividing the breast bone or spreading the ribs, in most cases. Surgeons are also able to provide excellent cosmetic results.

Benefits of minimally invasive mitral valve surgery

  • Less pain.
  • Less blood loss.
  • Less risk of infection.
  • Shorter hospital stay.
  • Faster recovery.
  • Faster return to work.
  • Less scarring and improved appearance after surgery.

Cath lab suite: Your heart’s in good hands

In fall 2006 we expanded heart center services at Jackson Hospital by adding a second cardiac catheterization lab suite. The suite has state-of-the-art digital flat-panel imaging equipment, which allowed us to double capacity, increase the amount of data that is charted during procedures and provide staff with instant patient history information.

Since then, another major change we have made is moving the process of implanting pacemakers from the operating room to the cath lab. Mary Rae Ziegler, RN, BSN, director of the Jackson heart center, said this change has enhanced continuity of care for our patients.

“In the heart center, we register our own patients and get to know them and their families while we do their pre-op workups,” Ziegler said. “Typically a patient will have the same nurse who does all their pre-op workup, is involved in the procedure and continues to care for the patient throughout the recovery process.”

In addition, a large percentage of the patients who need pacemakers have already been to the cath lab for other heart-related conditions. As a result, they are familiar with our staff and become comfortable knowing they are in good hands.

The heart center expansion was made possible in part through the generous contributions of donors to the Jackson Hospital Foundation.

Our heart center features:

  • A Philips flat-panel cardiac system capable of completing diagnostic, interventional cardiac and peripheral procedures without surgery.
  • A six-bed pre- and postprocedure unit.
  • A separate waiting room for heart patients.
  • Increased capacity for cardiac catheterization, which allows us to better serve the River Region community as the demand for heart care increases.
  • Increased focus on emergency intervention to prevent or reduce harm from heart attacks.
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