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Volume and Vision in Vascular Care

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, October 5, 2011
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This article appears in the September 2011 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Specialized high-volume aortic centers are becoming increasingly important for hospitals treating vascular conditions because of their ROI and improved patient outcomes.

Hospitals are relying on such programs to expand vascular surgery care, focusing on minimally invasive procedures and investing in new technology for growing patient need. In the process, they are expanding catheterization, stent, angioplasty, and endovascular surgery procedures.

More patients are being afflicted with vascular conditions. A major concern is peripheral arterial disease, when arteries become clogged with plaque that limits blood flow to the legs. One in every 20 Americans over age 50 has PAD, a condition that raises the risk for heart attack and stroke, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And for those in that group who are afflicted with diabetes, the rate is one in three. About 25.8 million adults and children—8.3% of the U.S. population—have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

“Vascular has really boomed; it has become an extraordinary opportunity and a challenge,” says Alan B. Lumsden, MD, RVT, FACS, chief of vascular surgery at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center at 1,000-bed The Methodist Hospital System in Houston.

Multidisciplinary approaches are particularly important for vascular care and improvements hospitals are seeking through new technology, such as hybrid operating room equipment, says Kimberley Murray,
RN, MS, CNOR, who until recently was longtime director of surgical services for the 431-staffed-bed St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, NY. She is now administrator of the orthopedic and spine service line at the hospital system.

“More and more procedures in every specialty area, especially vascular, can be done minimally invasively, and in vascular there are technology developments as well, and that is adding to the volume in patient care,” says Murray. “It is increasing every year, and the number of open procedures are diminishing because of the advancing medical technology and skill.”

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