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Allegheny Health Network Introduces Innovative Technology That Provides Direct Visualization of the Heart Following Surgery

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Allegheny Health Network is the first hospital network in Pittsburgh and among an elite group of innovative medical centers across the United States to offer a new technology that enables caregivers in the intensive care unit (ICU) to access real-time images of the heart as patients recover from surgery.
Offered at Allegheny General Hospital, Imacor’s hemodynamic transesophageal echocardiography (hTEE) system consists of ClariTEE, a miniature, disposable probe, and a customized ultrasound system. The ClariTEE probe is inserted through the esophagus, guided into the stomach and left in place for up to 72 hours to afford direct views of the beating heart via ultrasound.
By directly imaging the heart, members of the multidisciplinary ICU team can more safely, quickly and effectively stabilize critically-ill patients.
“Patients who are recovering from open-heart surgery are at risk for particular problems that may develop while they are recovering in the ICU,” said George J. Magovern, MD, Professor and Chairman of Allegheny Health Network’s Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. “Direct continuous visualization of the heart is a key tool in being able to solve these problems and stabilize high-risk patients as quickly as possible.”
The use of hTEE not only provides intensive care specialists with immediate data on how the heart is pumping at the exact time that a patient experiences symptoms, but also provides ongoing imaging so that the team can see in real time how the patient responds to various interventions, according to Robert Moraca, MD, Director of Cardiac Surgery Research at Allegheny Health Network.
“The critical care medicine team works around the clock to monitor patients during the most vulnerable periods of their recovery and provide swift intervention when post-surgical complications arise,” said Joseph Rossi, MD, FCCP, Division Chief of Critical Care Medicine for Allegheny Health Network. “Continuous access to ultrasound images of the heart gives our physicians and nurses invaluable information that will aid greatly in making critical treatment decisions.”
Without ultrasound guidance in the ICU, hidden issues such as right ventricular failure can be difficult to detect. hTEE technology enables the multidisciplinary ICU team to determine the best course of treatment and stabilize critically-ill patients more rapidly.
“Patient safety is our highest priority. Allegheny General Hospital prides itself on offering the most advanced tools to yield superior surgical outcomes and is pleased to offer this new technology for achieving optimal post-operative management for patients recovering from heart surgery,” said Srinivas Murali, MD, Director, Allegheny Health Network Cardiovascular Institute.