After precision diagnosis, treatment that's right on the mark.
Cardiac or vascular disease can affect anyone. And when it strikes, it almost always requires highly specialized treatment regimens. At The Heart and Vascular Institute at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, our cardiologists, surgeons, interventional radiologists and expert nursing and support staff draw upon the finest treatment options available. Here are just a few:
Cardiac Surgery – a range of options for a range of ailments
Cardiac problems are as individual as the patient. That's why each patient requires a unique approach to care. At The Heart and Vascular Institute at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, our open-heart team is a vital component of the Center for Advanced Surgery
. We offer the skills, the experience and the technologies that put us more than up to the challenge in virtually every case.
For instance, those requiring heart bypass surgery (also known as coronary artery bypass grafts or CABG), may benefit from having a leg vein or a mammary artery (or a combination of both) used to bypass or "graft" around the blocked artery, thus restoring healthy blood flow to the heart. In fact, our open-heart surgery team has achieved outstanding results by more frequently using the mammary artery option, which allows for unrestricted blood flow for longer periods of time.
Also, our open-heart teams were the first in the region to perform endoscopic vein harvesting, a highly advanced technique that allows surgeons to make a much smaller leg incision. The result is far less pain for the patient, and a much faster recovery.
Whatever the cardiovascular problem, whatever the issue or treatment option may be, it's important to know that the experts at The Heart and Vascular Institute at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital are always at the ready with open-heart procedures such as valve replacements, removal of heart tumors, the most delicate aneurysm repairs and much more.
Correcting Atrial Fibrillation with Cardiac Ablation
At The Heart and Vascular Institute, cardiac surgeons have demonstrated an amazing 100 percent success rate for patients with intermittent atrial fibrillation and an 88 percent success rate for patients with permanent A-Fib.
Atrial fibrillation (also known as A-Fib or heart flutter) is an extremely common heart conditions, effecting about 2.2 million Americans and about 5 percent of people over age 65. It’s also one of the most common causes for strokes. Yet the traditional procedures for treating it only had 60 to 70 percent success rates.
At The Heart and Vascular Institute, patients can know with confidence that proven and reliable A-Fib treatment is available right here in their community.
Brachytherapy – better results for angioplasty patients
Nearly 80 percent of patients who receive balloon angioplasty to treat blockages due to coronary artery disease also require the insertion of a stent to help keep the artery open. History has shown, however, that about one out of four patients who receive a stent will also need additional surgery to reopen or repair the same artery because of "in-stent restenosis," – a condition where the stent becomes clogged with new tissue growth or scars. Until now, a more invasive surgery to treat the restenosis was the only and best solution.
Today, The Heart and Vascular Institute at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital offers a revolutionary new procedure to help prevent restenosis. It's called brachytherapy – and it has proven to be an invaluable option for countless cardiovascular patients in our region.
The procedure is performed immediately after the angioplasty procedure and involves placing a catheter in the previously blocked artery. Using very sophisticated imaging technology, a small source of radiation is guided through the artery to the stent, where it remains for a given period of time (usually just a few minutes). Through this process, the radiation is absorbed in the area of the new stent, helping it to remain free and clear of new tissue or scar growth. The entire process takes only about 10 minutes – and results have been remarkable! In fact, it's proving to be the best way to prevent restenosis and future invasive follow-up surgeries.
Angioplasty, Stents and Rotablator – sophisticated options for cardiovascular patients
Cardiovascular disease takes on many different forms, affecting patients a number of different ways. Therefore, what is an effective treatment option for one person may not be appropriate for another. That's why at The Heart and Vascular Institute at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, we have highly skilled professionals who are expert in the many procedures that cardiovascular patients need.
The most common type of interventional cardiology is angioplasty. Each year, over half a million Americans undergo this treatment option technically known as a percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. The procedure involves inserting a thin, balloon-tipped tube into a leg artery and threading it to the heart vessel that's blocked. Once in the coronary artery, the balloon is inflated, opening the artery to improve blood flow.
For years, physicians used the leg's femoral artery to insert these interventional devices. Now, using the trans-radial approach, cardiologists can accomplish this procedure through an artery in the wrist with similar success rates, fewer complications and less bed rest time.
Other patients may require a slightly different approach. That's why The Heart and Vascular Institute offers the advanced stent, coated coronary stent and rotablator. The stent is an innovative blood vessel support device that is made of stainless steel mesh and resembles the spring of a ballpoint pen. During the procedure, the stent is inserted in a coronary blood vessel in order to support it and keep it open. Stents are sometimes used in conjunction with angioplasty for patients who suffer from acute arterial closure – or are at risk for it.
Stents are usually very affective in treating blockages. In a limited number of cases, however, stent patients may develop a condition called restenosis, which is a type of inter-artery scar tissue that forms over the stent, causing a re-blockage and requiring more treatment – possibly even another stent procedure or open-heart surgery.
Patients of The Heart and Vascular Institute now have another option – the coated coronary stent. Cardiologists implant the coated stent just like traditional stents. The difference is, the coated stent slowly releases a very specialized drug called sirolimus around the stent. Sirolimus limits the overgrowth of tissue and drastically reduces the chance for restenosis.
It's an incredible procedure that means many stent patients can now live a more normal life – and no one in the region performs more coated stent procedures than the professionals at The Heart and Vascular Institute at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.
Still another option for certain cardiovascular patients is the rotablator. Cardiologists use this innovative stent-like device to remove plaque that has accumulated inside an artery. The tiny rotobator is inserted into the blocked artery, where the diamond crystal tip carves away the plaque that prevents healthy blood flow.
Endoscopic Repair Vascular Surgery – for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
Aneurysm is a steady weakening in part of an arterial wall. Blood flow from within the artery pushes at that weakened, inflexible area, extending it out further over time until it swells like a rubber tire that's about to explode.
Each year in our community, hundreds of patients suffer from abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA). Should the aneurysm extend to a point where it bursts, the condition could very well be fatal. Ordinarily, the treatment for AAA is major invasive surgery, intensive care and at least a week-long hospital stay. But now The Heart and Vascular Institute at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital offers an outstanding – and far easier – alternative treatment.
To repair the damaged artery, our vascular surgeons may be able to employ an extraordinarily sophisticated procedure called Endoscopic Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair. This far easier and safer treatment option effectively solves the problem in a much less invasive fashion – using only local anesthesia, requiring no intensive care and allowing most patients to be discharged home in just a day.
It's simply the most advanced minimally invasive method for treating an entire array of cardiac and vascular diseases. With extreme precision and expertise, our team of highly skilled, fellowship trained interventional radiologists use imaging technology to guide micro-surgical instruments – such as catheters – through blood vessels or other natural pathways. This incredible technology allows interventional radiologists to treat cardiovascular diseases under the skin – or percutaneously.
It's very advanced health care – to say the least. And it's ideal for treating many blood vessel diseases. Angioplasty and stenting, for example, open up narrowed arteries – through a very tiny incision in the skin. Similarly, interventional radiologists treat clotted blood vessels with thrombolysis (a clot busting technique), and control bleeding deep within the body without open surgery.
Such procedures are typically far less invasive and less costly than traditional surgery. But best of all, the procedures are easier for the patient because they involve no large incisions, far less pain, shorter recovery times and less associated risks.
More commonly known as hardening of the arteries, peripheral vascular disease is a form of atherosclerosis – a progressive disease that can result in blockages in arteries of the brain, arms, kidneys and legs. The disease is caused by fatty build-up on the artery walls, which restricts blood flow – and that could lead to a stroke or heart attack.
That's where our talented interventional radiologists can help. Interventional radiologists assist in stenting and angioplasty procedures. Stenting involves placing a tiny steel mesh support device in the artery to keep the blood vessel open. Similarly, angioplasty involves inserting a thin balloon-tipped tube into an artery, guiding it to the blockage and inflating it to support the artery. With either procedure, the technique and expertise of the interventional radiologist is critical to its success.
Stenting and angioplasty procedures that our interventional radiologists are expert in include:
- Renal angioplasty and stenting
- Iliac artery angioplasty and stenting
- Mesenteric angioplasty and stenting
- Infrainguinal angioplasty and stenting
- Carotid artery stenting
The Gamma Knife – for surgery today and the comforts of home tomorrow!
The only one in Northeastern Pennsylvania, our Gamma Knife Center can treat a wide range of abnormalities, including cancer as well as vascular disorders and arteriovenous malformations. Most important, it means treatment without making a single incision! That's because the Gamma Knife focuses the radioactive energy of 201 cobalt-60 sources on the area that needs treatment. Individually, these low-density beams cannot cause damage to healthy tissue. But when they converge on their target, they effectively arrest the malformation's growth – all in one treatment session, and usually enabling the patient to resume normal daily activity within 24 to 48 hours after the treatment.
For more information visit us at www.gammaknifecenter.org.
MORE OPTIONS FROM OUR EXPERTS
Of course, The Heart and Vascular Institute at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital offers a host of other treatment options in the battle against cardiovascular disease, including:
- Intravascular ultrasound
- Temporary transcutaneous pacing
- Elective cardioversion
- Implantable permanent pacemaker
- Intravascular radiation therapy
- Carotid endarterectomy
- Peripheral bypass
- Renal bypass
- Vein stripping and ligation