Surgeons in surgery room with big overhead lights on operating on patient

New Operating Rooms Support Innovative Heart Procedures

There has been a recent explosion of innovation in the field of minimally invasive techniques to treat patients with cardiovascular disease. Overlake embraced this wave of change and in 2014 launched a structural heart program, beginning with transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), which was later followed by offering a minimally invasive catheter-based mitral valve repair therapy.

Overlake’s structural heart program has been growing consistently ever since its cardiovascular specialists began performing TAVR procedures, and expects to hit the milestone of 500 procedures later this year. While people with severe aortic stenosis who are inoperable or intermediate and high-risk for open-heart surgery qualify for TAVR, recent studies show that younger and healthier patients—therefore those who are at low risk for open-heart surgery—will soon be eligible for the minimally invasive option.

Anticipating this growth, Overlake included construction of two new operating rooms and refurbishment of an existing operating room (OR) in phase one of its campus expansion project, Project FutureCare. The new OR suite will open this fall.

“Aortic stenosis—a narrowing of the aortic valve, which restricts blood flow—is a progressive and debilitating disease. The new operating rooms will allow us to perform more procedures and help improve the quality of life for people with this condition,” says Brianna Walker, ARNP, Overlake’s lead structural heart program coordinator. “The state-of-the-art operating rooms will enable us to adapt quickly to new technologies and new procedures as they emerge.”

The hybrid OR will be optimal for advanced, minimally invasive procedures, but will also have the space and equipment required to perform an open-chest procedure. The room will have the capacity to hold advanced imaging equipment and two entire surgical teams.

“The hybrid OR was built with the patient as the centerpiece,” adds Scott Haugen, MD, co-medical director of the structural heart program. “The room has all of the cutting-edge technology and equipment to help us provide the best care to an array of complex patients. We take pride in our ability to offer the full spectrum of procedural options to patients in need. This room is the embodiment of that goal.”

Open-heart surgeries and minimally invasive procedures require different teams of providers and different types of equipment—from X-rays to lighting systems. The hybrid OR allows interventional cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, imaging cardiologists, cardiac anesthesiologists and the many important supporting team members to work hand and hand to perform procedures like TAVR. 

Renee Minjarez, MD, vascular surgeon with Lake Washington Vascular, is one of the providers who steps in to help in cases where a procedure might need an additional specialist. “Every so often, someone doesn’t have good arteries. I’m able to open up arteries to facilitate the delivery of a device, such as a valve. In a hybrid OR, you have all the materials and infrastructure in one place to seamlessly accomplish this type of surgery.”

The second new OR is designed for traditional open-chest procedures and large enough to accommodate new equipment, imaging technology and bigger teams. This ensures our surgeons have the facilities they need to provide the very best and most advanced care to our patients when minimally invasive procedures are not an option. 

“We have built an incredible team, process and now new ORs. Overlake has the depth and breadth of experience, and is committed to providing world-class care to our community by making these innovative spaces and procedures a reality,” says Ronnier Aviles, MD, chief of cardiology and program medical director of Overlake’s cardiac service line and co-medical director of the structural heart program.