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Spotlight On: The Hybrid OR

This month, a state-of-the-art operating room – called a hybrid OR – will open at UVA Medical Center. To find out what this new facility means for patients needing heart surgery we spoke with interventional cardiologist Scott Lim, MD, heart surgeon Gorav Ailawadi, MD, and heart surgeon Irving Kron, MD.

How was the hybrid OR designed?

It was designed by a team of UVA heart and vascular surgeons, cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, nurses and anesthesiologists. Lim says this collaboration determined everything from the type of equipment needed to the lighting and the placement of electrical outlets and operating table to create the best possible work environment.

How will patients benefit from the hybrid OR?

It will improve treatment for patients in several ways:

  • Fosters teamwork: The hybrid OR will enable easier collaboration among UVA physicians, helping heart surgery patients receive tailored treatment. “Some aspects of a patient’s care might be best handled by a more open surgical approach, or by a minimally invasive approach, or by a hybrid approach. The hybrid OR gives us the flexibility to allow this to happen in a single room,” Lim says. 
  • More room to work: Larger than standard operating rooms, the hybrid OR can accommodate additional equipment that can be wheeled into the room as needed. Instead of being moved, patients needing multiple procedures or combination procedures can stay in one room while the needed equipment is brought to them.
  • SurgeonBetter imaging: The hybrid OR will have state-of-the-art imaging equipment that will be a significant improvement over standard operating rooms, Kron says. For instance, surgeons performing a procedure may encounter a larger blockage than originally thought. In a standard operating room, physicians may need to pause the procedure and send the patient to another room for additional imaging. In the hybrid OR, the needed imaging equipment will be available without having to transport the patient to a different room.
  • Additional equipment: The hybrid OR will also have equipment for atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia ablations that is not available in standard operating rooms. So if a patient needs an ablation along with a second procedure, both procedures can be performed in the hybrid OR without having to move the patient.

What types of procedures will be easier to perform in the hybrid OR?

It will be especially beneficial for patients who need a minimally invasive procedure, Ailawadi says. Procedures better suited for the hybrid OR include:

  • minimally invasive heart valve repair and replacement
  • atrial fibrillation ablation and surgery
  • minimally invasive heart bypass procedures
  • ablations for ventricular tachycardia
  • placing stents to repair aortic aneurysms.
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