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Preparing For The Real Thing

September 11, 2008, 4:48 PM by Kelli Grant

Preparing For The Real Thing
It's a life saving tool that comes before an open heart surgery. 

And it's a procedure patients are awake through, but rarely know the extent of what is being done, until now. 

It looks like the real thing, the conversation even sounds like the real thing. But it's practice for physicians--- and for patients. 

It's a diagnostic test that gives your doctor a better and up close look at the condition of your heart. It shows how your heart is functioning, as well as the condition of its valves and arteries. 

Avera Heart Hospital Cardiovascular Technologist Mike Murray says, “Some people might have had a stress test that showed that there was something, an area of the heart that wasn't getting the proper amount of blood.” 

And that's where a cath lab comes into play. But this one's on wheels, and it’s parked at the Avera Heart hospital to not only help train physicians and their support staff, but to give the public this rare view into the medical world. 

Dr. Mike Bacharach of the North Central Heart Institute says, “Number one there have been great strides in technology, and number 2 there's a tremendous effort on the part of the medical profession to avoid complications and problems to train people adequately and I think to give them a great sense of confidence that they're no being used as a guinea pig or in a practice sense.” 

This simulation goes through the real motions, manipulating a catheter up through the arteries. But it also simulates a patient’s blood pressure and heart rhythm. And since patients are sedated during the real procedure, this simulator can communicate. 

Murray says, “Most people are surprised when they get done with it, actually have the procedure done. They say this was nothing compared to what I thought I would be.” 

And this simulator can curb the curiosity of patients who have already had the procedure and ease the fears of those who will soon have a catheterization done. 

The mobile cath lab will be open again Friday to the public at the Avera Heart Hospital from 9 AM to 3 PM.

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