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By ALAN J. ORTBALS
    Construction began earlier this year on a new $3.8 million hybrid cardiovascular operating room at Memorial Hospital in Belleville. It is expected to be completed early next year.
p11 NevilleNeville    A hybrid operating room is a fully functional operating room that incorporates the imaging technology needed for modern, cutting-edge, endovascular procedures. Traditionally endovascular procedures are done in a cath-lab setting or an angiography suite. The hybrid operating room combines the two, providing the ability to do any type of open procedure in combination with endovascular procedures.
    “This is a huge addition to the cardiovascular service line at Memorial,” said Patrick Neville, M.D., a vascular surgeon at Memorial Hospital. “It allows us to utilize both open and endovascular surgical techniques coupled with the most advanced imaging technology available. This in turn will allow us to offer safer and more effective treatments to our vascular patients while using that platform for newer technologies and procedures as they become available in the future.”
    Two existing operating rooms are being combined to accommodate all of the imaging equipment. At this point it is strictly for cardiovascular support, but it could be used for other procedures as well, according to Neville. Memorial’s Hybrid OR will be equipped with a Siemens Artis Zeego robotic-arm imaging system, giving surgeons a 360-degree view of the patient. Zeego allows surgeons to perform minimally invasive interventional surgeries, enhancing patient care.
    “Hybrid operating rooms have been around for years,” Neville said. “But this type of hybrid operating room, to my knowledge, will be the first of this size and magnitude on this side of the river.”
    The real goal of cardiovascular care, according to Neville, is to reduce the use of surgery and minimize the intrusiveness of the surgery when it is necessary.
    “There is no debating that our population, not only here but nationwide, is living longer, the doctor said. “The patients tend to be older and sicker. Open surgical procedures will always be needed for certain surgical conditions,” he added. “But that exposes this type of population to additional risks. If we can treat people with minimally invasive procedures that have been proven to be safe and effective whether it is with a stent, balloon or catheter drug delivery system we cannot only improve and prolong life, but we can do it without exposing them to the traditional surgical risks that accompany a big open procedure. That’s what this hybrid operating room will help us do and certainly looking to the future it helps us build upon the services we already offer.”
p11 hybridWork is underway on Memorial Hospital’s $3.8 million hybrid cardiovascular operating room. An example of such a hybrid is shown.    One of the ways to reduce the need for surgery is through medication, according to Neville. Today, there are better cholesterol, anti-platelet and blood pressure medications, for example, that can be used to help people live longer and better quality of lives.
    A year ago, Memorial Hospital announced it had formed a strategic alliance with BJC HealthCare in St. Louis and formed a new jointly owned parent organization — Memorial Regional Health Services. A new board of directors for MRHS was appointed to oversee Memorial Hospital in Belleville, Memorial Hospital East in Shiloh and the Memorial Foundation. Mark Turner is president of Memorial Regional Health Services.
    “The alliance with BJC expands our reach,” Neville said. “BJC and Memorial share a similar mission of providing the highest level of care possible and together we can use our strengths to continue that service to the Metro East. I think it expands our reach and our ability to offer additional services while continuing to offer world class care to our communities. There are too few doctors today to treat our aging population. That’s well documented across the board. As people are living longer they may have less access to specialty care. BJC has an incredible foundation on which we can build and recruit.”