CDH Cardiovascular Suite Team Celebrates 2000th Procedure

NORTHAMPTON — It’s not every day that the Cardiovascular Suite team finishes a procedure and then celebrates with cake and fruit. But the team recently marked a special occasion.

The nurses, interventional radiologists, and radiology techs had completed their 2,000th case and paused to recognize the impact their skills have had on patient’s lives.

“We use technically advanced, minimally invasive treatments that are generally easier for patients because they don’t involve a surgical incision. Patients have less pain and spend less time in the hospital,” said Dr. George Hartnell, an interventional radiologist, who, along with his colleague, Dr. Julia Gates, an interventional radiologist, performs a wide range of vascular and interventional radiology procedures at CDH.

Under the direction of Hartnell, the team has performed comprehensive disease management and treatment for aortic disease (abdomen and chest), peripheral vascular disease (arms and legs), renovascular disease (kidneys), as well as minimally invasive treatment of cancers of the liver and kidney.

The team uses interventional treatments such as angioplasty, in which a very small balloon attached to a thin tube (a catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel. By using X-rays, the catheter is guided to the site of the blocked artery, and the balloon is inflated to open the artery. In some cases, a stent, or a tiny mesh cylinder, is inserted and left in the artery to restore blood flow and keep the artery open. Team members also use therapies to dissolve blood clots.

Within the past year, the team expanded the types of services they offer to include treating varicose veins using radio frequency energy (heat) and kyphoplasty for patients with acute spinal factures.

The 2,000 cases represent a variety of procedures that range from simple biopsies to embolization, a technique to stop or prevent hemorrhage and to treat tumors.

Cooley Dickinson’s Vascular and Special Interventions program is based on an operating room standard angiographic suite. Procedures are performed in sterile conditions, which reduces the risks of infection. All procedures are performed by Hartnell or Gates, both of whom are board-certified in diagnostic radiology and have earned certificates of additional qualification in vascular and interventional radiology.

The authors of more than 100 peer-review scientific papers and numerous other publications, Hartnell said he and Gates “provide a level of service more usually found at major academic medical centers.”

The team’s celebration occurred during Healthcare Workers Week, May 8-15, a time when the hospital administration thanks the more than 2,000 doctors and employees who contribute to quality outcomes for patients, including earning the Patient Safety Excellence Award for three consecutive years (2009-11). CDH is among the top 5{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of hospitals in the nation to earn this designation.

For more information about the Vascular and Special Intervention program at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, call (413) 582-2554.

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