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‘Extraordinary gift’ to fund new hybrid OR for Joel E. Smilow Heart Institute at Bridgeport Hospital

Monday, May 18, 2015

Bridgeport, CT – An “extraordinary” gift from an anonymous donor will help the Joel E. Smilow Heart Institute at Bridgeport Hospital build a state-of-the-art hybrid operating suite for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and other minimally invasive cardiac procedures such as hybrid ablation for atrial fibrillation (A-fib).

By request, the donor’s name and the amount of the gift are being kept confidential. “We are extremely grateful for this gift, which along with contributions from other donors, promises to improve cardiac care for many residents of the greater Bridgeport area,” said Stephen M. Jakab, president of the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation.

“Cardiac patients will benefit from potentially life-saving procedures, performed in a minimally invasive manner with less pain, faster recovery times and improved outcomes,” added Stuart Zarich, MD, chief of Cardiovascular Services. “This gift will significantly upgrade the technology and facilities needed to deliver the highest quality medical services.”

The hybrid OR is a sterile, lead-lined surgical theatre with permanently integrated and highly sophisticated imaging devices. These tools produce 3D images of vital organs and very thin blood vessels with a remarkable precision.

The hybrid OR is twice the size of a standard operating room, with a catheterization lab embedded within. This allows cardiologists, vascular surgeons and cardiac surgeons to work collaboratively to perform advanced procedures with greater precision, which can help patients avoid the need for major surgery.

Building plans are being finalized now and work on the new OR is will begin soon. The project is expected to be completed in 2016.

Hybrid OR procedures

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) replaces an aortic valve surgery by using a catheter to place the valve through an artery in the leg. Currently, cardiologists and surgeons evaluate patients in the Bridgeport Hospital TAVR clinic and work collaboratively with physicians at Yale New Haven Hospital. These patients could be cared for closer to home with a hybrid OR at Bridgeport Hospital.

The new OR will also allow the hospital to offer TAVR to high-risk patients who previously might not have been considered eligible for surgery.

The hybrid OR also enables precise minimally invasive procedures such as major aortic aneurysm repairs and hybrid ablation. The specially equipped surgical suite helps avoid major operations in the chest or abdomen to repair aortic aneurysms. Similarly, atrial fibrillation, which is the most common arrhythmia in adults, can be addressed in the hybrid OR with hybrid ablation, which combines the best approaches of catheter-based techniques and minimally invasive surgery. In 2011, Bridgeport Hospital was the first hospital in the Northeast to perform hybrid ablation and is one of the largest training centers in the United States for these procedures.

Benefits of hybrid OR procedures to patients include less trauma, less scarring, faster rehabilitation and a more positive overall patient experience.

The Joel E. Smilow Heart Institute at Bridgeport Hospital has been at the forefront of advanced cardiac care since the early 1960s. Bridgeport Hospital is a regional pioneer in cardiac bypass surgery, balloon angioplasty, the use of coronary stents and sophisticated treatment of heart rhythm disorders.