Patients with vascular conditions now have access to the two most advanced hybrid operating rooms with Canon technology in Canada at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital.
The new operating suites will help surgeons do more procedures and handle more complex cases. Patients will spend less time in surgery and less time in recovery, which will help them get home faster.
“The new technology provides our surgeons with exceptional image resolution, which allows us to work more accurately and quickly,” says Dr. Gerrit Winkelaar, Head of Vascular Surgery at the Northern Alberta Vascular Centre (NAVC) located at the Grey Nuns.
“We can perform procedures on vessels that were difficult to see well using our old equipment.”
Approximately 300,000 Albertans suffer from vascular diseases.
Conditions of vascular disease include aortic aneurysm, traumatic injuries and peripheral artery disease (PAD). Common signs include heart issues, high blood pressure, aneurysm and poor circulation, which can lead to sores, numbness, pain, reduced movement and even loss of limb function. Diseases of the arteries and veins are linked to several risk factors such as genetics, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and poorly controlled diabetes.
“A lot of what we do is help save limbs and lives,” says Gerrit. “Restoring blood flow results in a substantial change to a patient’s symptoms.”
Dr. Gerrit Winkelaar is the Head of Vascular Surgery at NAVC
As a surgeon, Gerrit recognizes that any procedure can potentially be a life-changing event. Surgical procedures to treat vascular disease include aneurysm repair, surgical bypasses, artery angioplasty and stenting.
“The new suites allow our surgical teams to continue to deliver excellent care but with newer, safer technology for everyone involved.”
The new technology makes a difference, says Steve Lucas, Program Manager at the Grey Nuns.
“For our patients, there is less X-ray exposure and less imaging dye,” Steve says. “Less radiation, less dye and a quicker procedure all add up to a better patient experience.”
While patients might only be in the operating room for a few hours, the new technology is also safer for staff who are exposed daily to the X-ray machine.
“In addition to wearing lead suits, which we’ve always done, the entire room is now lined with lead to provide additional protection outside the operating suite,” says Jackie Campbell, Assistant Head Nurse.
“We’ve also implemented technology that allows live monitoring of exposure.”
The technology from Canon Medical Systems, the first of its kind in Canada, allows surgical teams to deliver both open and minimally invasive procedures in the same room.
“While the operating rooms will primarily be used for vascular surgery, we can easily transition between other types of surgery—from vascular to gynecology to orthopedics—without needing to bring in new equipment,” says Gerrit.
The state-of-the-art operating rooms opened to patients in September 2018. The suites were built in partnership with Alberta Health Services, which provided $10 million in funding to support infrastructure and equipment.
Northern Alberta Vascular Centre (NAVC)
- Located at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta
- Serves a population of 2.3 million in Northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the Territories
- Employs seven full-time surgeons who perform 1,700 surgical interventions a year
Causes of vascular disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes/poorly controlled diabetes
- Blocked arteries
What are the symptoms?
- Heart issues
- High blood pressure
- Poor circulation, which can lead to sores, numbness, pain, reduced movement and even loss of limb function or amputation
Prevention and risk reduction
- Healthy diet
- Regular physician visits
- Aortic aneurysm repair
- Bypass surgery
Source: Northern Alberta Vascular Centre