The delicate, whisp-like tendrils of blood vessels illuminated on the massive flatscreen.

Next to the two-dimensional image on the screen, a 3-D version of the heart had been built to provide a different perspective. Cardiologists could see every angle, turn and potential problem in real time.

Inside the upgraded catheterization lab at Community Hospital South, new tools give physicians an in-depth view of the heart. Now they can see the heart, arteries and blood vessels in a way they never had before.

“If you see blockages in the heart and it’s not very clear, that makes it more difficult. In patients who are obese, 300- or 400-pounds, X-rays cannot penetrate and see very fine details,” said Dr. DeoVrat Singh, cardiologist with Community Physician Network. “But with this machine, you can see much finer details and that increases the safety of the procedure with the patient.”

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Community Hospital South unveiled its newly remodeled catheterization lab in mid-March. The updated space will give doctors more-detailed views of the cardiovascular system than ever before, increasing the safety for patients suffering from heart failure, coronary artery disease and other heart-related conditions.

They will have the ability to diagnose and examine problem areas that they never could have seen before and treat those issues in a way that helps patients recover more quickly.

The remodeled lab will be the center of cardiovascular care at Community Hospital South. Patients who have blocked arteries and need catheterization — a diagnostic tool in which a thin tube is inserted into the heart — will be assigned to the 600-square-foot space.

Community Hospital South unveiled a new $5.1 million electrophysiology lab in its cardiology department in 2015. Worked started on the catheterization lab in 2016, and it became fully operational on March 13.

The foundation of the new lab is the Philips AlluraClarity FD20 technology. The imaging system is designed to give a high-resolution, clear, precise picture of the body while using a reduced amount of X-rays.

“When you have reduced X-ray exposure to the patient, that increases your safety,” Singh said. “X-ray exposure accumulates. Any time you have X-rays or CT scans, it has an effect on the body. Over time, when they have more X-rays, they have more potential for damage or complications.”

Another aspect of the equipment is called a “swing feature.” In the past, when cardiologists wanted to use computed tomography, or a CT scan, of the cardiovascular system, they would have to inject the patients five or six times with a contrast solution containing iodine.

That iodine puts stress on kidneys, Singh said. The swing feature allows physicians to only inject the patient once, and the imaging system takes multiple views of the particular body part.

“Instead of using more of that contrast, I can get the same information with less. It increases patient safety while reducing the potential for kidney injury,” Singh said.

A zero-gravity system of suspended radiation protection was also installed in the lab. Instead of cardiologists needing to don 20-pound lead aprons for the entirety of a multi-hour procedure, the system will descend from the ceiling to protect against radiation while physicians work freely, Singh said.

The system is able to take multiple views of the heart and overlap them, giving cardiologists a precise way to see blockages in the smallest arteries and vessels in the heart, Singh said.

“We can treat the patient more quickly and more safely while being able to see very fine details,” he said.

At a glance

Remodeled catheterization lab

Where: Community Hospital South, on County Line Road in Indianapolis

What: A upgraded catheterization lab featuring state-of-the-art technology to do more efficient and minimally evasive scans of the cardiovascular system.

How big: 600 square feet

What does it do? Using the Philips AlluraClarity FD20 technology, cardiologists can capture and view detailed two-dimensional and three-dimensional renderings of precise areas of the heart, arteries and blood vessels.

What will it be used to treat? Heart failure, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease and other cardiovascular conditions.

Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.