In an effort to constantly improve practice — physicians, nurses and technicians from several departments throughout Owensboro Health Regional Hospital visited the large mobile on-site learning lab Wednesday to learn more about the new cardiac technology they would be using.
The Impella RP is a minimally invasive, catheter-based device that assists the heart with pumping blood. Typically inserted in the cardiac catheterization lab, the device is especially useful for patients who are experiencing a number of conditions, including right heart failure, heart attack or those who are undergoing open-heart surgery.
Regional Clinical Manager for Abiomed, the Impella manufacturer, Liam Pickett, is traveling with the mobile lab to various hospitals for the next three weeks to help demonstrate the benefits of what he refers to as “the world’s smallest pump,” with sizes ranging from “the size of a pencil eraser and smaller.”
“While surgeons have another device that can be inserted through an open heart in surgery, this catheter can be inserted through the skin to allow the heart to rest to prepare for surgery or to assist the heart in cardiogenic shock — heart failure,” Pickett said. “When the patients are that sick, what we’re trying to prevent is end-organ failure, so that’s where the pump can come in handy.”
Staff from the cardiac cath lab, critical care unit (CCU), emergency room (ER) and operating room (OR), as well as other departments, were all in attendance to learn more about the catheterization device and its benefits.
“Those are the four departments that are touched by these patients,” Pickett said, adding that after presenting in the ER with a cardiac emergency, patients were often transitioned on to one or more of the other areas.
Hillary Strahan, OHRH director of cardiac services, said, with over 100 people expected to walk through the mobile lab Wednesday, she welcomed the opportunity for hospital staff from various departments to receive more education in an effort to ultimately be able to provide more efficient patient care with the equipment on a day-to-day basis.
“When we collaborate with people in the industry and physicians in training,” Strahan said, “it gets the staff more comfortable and ultimately brings a better quality of care because they’re comfortable and confident with what they know how to do — especially with specialty items like this.”
Strahan said the Impella RP also allows the hospital to provide more advanced treatment options and be able to treat more people locally.
“It keeps them [the patients] from having to travel out of town for care, so they can stay here and get the advanced care they need,” Strahan said.
While the cardiology department already has two catheters equipt for left ventricle insertion, Strahan said, Tuesday they received the RP system for the right side of the heart.
As far as expense, Strahan said the catheter is used to stabilize patients and would prove to be a worthwhile investment.
“It is several thousands of dollars for the catheters,” Strahan said. “It’s not something we use every day. There are certain cases where a patient is too unstable to go to surgery, in those cases, it’s worth the expense.”