UM Unveils State-of-the-Art Cath Lab

Lab provides advanced imaging and pinpoint accuracy for new and complex procedures.

(December 07, 2011) — University of Miami Hospital and Miller School of Medicine leadership, staff, supporters, and members of the media gathered at the Elaine and Sydney Sussman Cardiac Catheterization Lab on December 2 for the unveiling of UMH’s new state-of-the-art hybrid catheterization laboratory.

Hybrid labs like UM’s Cath Lab 4 provide advanced imaging capabilities and pinpoint accuracy for new and complex procedures such as aortic valve replacement and mitral valve repair. They allow interventional cardiologists and heart surgeons to perform procedures in conjunction with one another, addressing an array of conditions that might arise on the spot rather than scheduling additional procedures—saving time, money, and lives.

“Not long ago, patients with complex heart conditions were given morphine and oxygen and simply made more comfortable through their last days,” said Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., “but today, through technology like this, we can do heart-valve replacement and heart surgery without even opening a patient’s chest. This is the future of medicine, and we are living it today.”

The enhancement to Cath Lab 4 is the latest addition to the Elaine and Sydney Sussman Catheterization Lab at UMH and was made possible by an additional gift from the Sussmans and the generosity of Miller School supporter Raul Rodriguez.

“The Sussmans had the desire to bring state-of-the-art cardiac care to the Miller School of Medicine, and Raul Rodriguez had the vision to bring robotic technology to our cardiac care unit,” Goldschmidt said.

“The Sussman Cath Lab is the first in the country to have all this technology in one room,” said Chief Medical Officer William W. O’Neil, M.D. “Most cath labs have one x-ray and one camera. Here, we have a wholly integrated approach, where teams of doctors, surgeons, and nurses can work together—at the same time—to give patients the immediate and detailed attention that they need at such a critical time. It’s like a CT scan at your fingertips.”

Commenting on the new lab, professor of medicine and interventional cardiologist Alan W. Heldman, M.D., said the lab the Sussmans funded a few years ago was so wonderful that word spread across the whole Southeast. “Now, everyone wants to come here. This new facility builds on that greatness and takes it to the next level—and allows us to treat more patients.”

“It’s a great honor to have our name associated with a cutting-edge, lifesaving facility like this,” said Sydney Sussman, who attended the event along with his wife Elaine and daughter Andrea.

Raul Rodriguez, who was inspired to make his gift in honor of his mother who has had cardiac issues of her own, said he was glad to know that his support would help thousands of other cardiac patients.

One of those patients, Merle Hargis, traveled to Miami from his home in Orlando to take advantage of the new facility. Hargis needed aortic valve replacement, but his doctors in Orlando felt the procedure was too risky for them to handle, so they referred him to UMH. “Last week I had the operation, and today I’m going home,” said Hargis, his wife and daughters by his side. “I don’t know all the science behind what these doctors did, but it worked like a champ. I can tell you that.”

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Chief Medical Officer William O’Neill describes the new technology in Cath Lab 4 at UMH.

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