Sentara Introduces Laser-Guided Heart Surgery Imaging Program
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Sentara Introduces Laser-Guided Heart Surgery Imaging Program 

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April 11, 2008 - Norfolk, Virginia - Sentara Heart Hospital and Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital are introducing a new technology to aid in bypass surgery. SPY® Intra-operative Imaging System is used before and after coronary bypass and is performed to provide immediate confirmation of a successful surgery. The system has been used at Sentara Heart Hospital since January of this year with excellent results.

Using Technology to Improve Clinical Decision-Making
The SPY system uses a fluorescent dye that attaches to proteins in the blood and emits light when stimulated by a very low-energy laser. The injected dye lights up blood flowing through the veins and arteries in real time, an action that can be projected on a screen and saved.

“Based on our experience to date, we believe that SPY has great potential to positively impact both the immediate and long-term outcomes of bypass surgery and, therefore, be accepted as a care standard, not just at our hospital, but by all hospitals performing bypass surgery,” said Dr. Lenox Baker, Sentara’s Chief of Cardiac Surgery.

SPY allows surgeons to make intra-operative decisions that may optimize procedures for each individual patient. Clinical studies show SPY can reduce serious complications associated with bypass surgery, such as bypass graft failure and post-operative myocardial injury.

Setting a New Standard for Care
Coronary artery bypass is the most commonly performed heart surgery in the world - with approximately 400,000 patients in the United States undergoing the operation each year. This surgery is performed when blood flow to the heart is impaired because of blocked vessels that can't be unclogged through drugs, mechanical scraping or the use of a stent to hold an obstructed artery open. The procedure involves grafting vessels from other parts of the body to create alternative conduits of blood flow to the heart.

Surgeons at Sentara Heart Hospital perform more than 1,200 bypass surgeries each year. The program ranks in the top 50 hospitals listed in the 2007 U.S. News & World Report rankings, boasting the third lowest mortality ratio of any hospital in the survey.

“As cardiac surgeons at Sentara, my colleagues and I are focused on performing the best possible bypass surgeries and to ensuring we have completely revascularized the heart,” says Dr. Wayne Derkac of Mid Atlantic Cardiothoracic Surgeons, Ltd. “SPY quickly gives us high quality real-time images of each of our grafts, which we can use to first validate that our grafts are functioning properly and then demonstrate the success of the operation to ourselves, our team, our referral colleagues and, most importantly, to our patients and their families.”


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