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Sarasota Memorial Hospital is far beyond the cutting edge in surgical innovation. In 2011, The Healthcare Foundation awarded SMH with a multi-million dollar grant to build its Hybrid Operating Room and built-in cath lab for complex heart conditions, creating an integration of cardiac surgery, vascular surgery and interventional cardiology which allows multiple physicians to collaborate in the care and treatment of heart patients. It's the ultimate in advanced interdisciplinary surgery.

The hybrid design is a merging of operating room with an electrophysiology lab, meaning added imaging equipment such as cardiovascular and radiology equipment that isn't usually found in an OR. This integration of services allows two or more interdisciplinary teams to act as one, creating an interventional procedural suite that can hold double the amount of doctors and provide a place for a patient to convert from a bypass to open-heart surgery, if need be. Simply put, this technology enables high-risk cardiac patients to simultaneously receive multiple procedures in the same operating suite.

"Trans Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) was the primary catalyst for building the Hybrid OR lab. We needed the additional technology and monitors to aid in this surgery, which is reserved for medium- to high-risk patients that might not be able to undergo regular heart surgery to replace that valve," says  Associate Chief Nursing Officer David Patterson, who oversees cardiac services at SMH. "Before this technology was offered here, 90% of patients diagnosed with aortic stenosis were dead within a year. By the end of our first year of offering Hybrid OR technology, 90% of our patients stayed alive past that first year."

To date, SMH's comprehensive aortic program has surpassed all other national standards. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) captures the most robust collection of data for any surgery done in the United States. There are 5 categories within cardiac surgery, with 3 stars being the highest rating within each category. SMH proudly boasts 3 stars in all 5 categories, thanks in part to its Hybrid OR.

"The Hybrid OR increases safety and increases visualization of what the patients' need," says Jennifer Sullivan, who works in Cardiovascular Services at SMH. "Our older, sicker patient population benefits greatly from this technology which offers advanced imaging options and less invasive procedures."  It also benefits any patient with any type of cardiac issue, including pregnant women with heart conditions who need the  extra technology to deliver their babies safely.

"Grants and funding have enabled us to take on newer technology and build new programs that will help the community. It positions us as a leader in healthcare advancements and affords us the opportunities build clinical programs that can benefit our region," Jennifer says. "We can now have procedures done locally, which makes us more comprehensive in our offerings."

David adds, "We need grants and funding to continue to provide quality outcomes with the newest, brightest, greatest technology available, because technology costs a lot of money. This lab costs 4.5 million dollars, but without it we could never achieve these results. We have done over 500 procedures since the OR was built. That's 500 lives we've had a positive impact on."

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