Huntsville Hospital

Front row: Brenda Spencer. Back row: Alex Vasquez, MD, Patricia Bailey, Manager, George Soliman, MD, Tom Grindell
Front row: Pam Austin, Linda Mitchell, Lisa Truett. Back row: Laura Hall, Heath Zapf
Front row: Jennifer McEvoy, Julie Cassell. Back row: Jennifer Alred, Jason Rice, Barri Dobbs
Front row: Lisa Rhodes, Alain Hamel. Back row: Jamie Dollar, Dave Clifton, Terrie Sharp
Front row: Tara Bustos, Pam Williams, Brandi Randolph. Back row: Kelly Masters, Jamie Fortenberry
Front row: Delia Lindsey, Henry Chen, MD, Alain Hamel. Back row: Jennifer McEvoy, Jim Gallardy
Front row: Sandy Tigue, David Drenning, MD. Back row: Shelia Jordan, Warren Strickland, MD, Chris Thornton
Front row: Lisa Davis, John Hartley, MD, Candi Lindsay. Back row: Garry Hooper
Front row: Susan Sharp, Christy Cantey, Kelly Smith, MD. Back row: Sadasiva Katta, MD
Tammy Grayson, Deb Cloud, Francine Marcotte
Front row: Sam McCall, Sheila Wood. Back row: Tracy Wiggs, Chad Norton
Tracy Wiggs, Randall Burns, MD, Sheila Wood
Author(s): 

Patricia Bailey, RN, BSN, Cardiac Cath/EP Lab Manager, Huntsville, Alabama

What type of procedures are performed at your facility?

A variety of procedures are performed on approximately 125 adult patients per week. Procedures include angioplasty, stenting, AngioJet® thrombectomy (Possis Medical, Inc., Minneapolis, MN) and Export Aspiration Catheter (Medtronic, Minneapolis, MN), iLab Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) (Boston Scientific, Maple Grove, MN), FilterWire (Boston Scientific, Natick, MA), PolarCath (CryoVascular Systems, Inc./Boston Scientific), SmartWire Pressure System (Volcano Therapeutics, Inc., Rancho Cordova, CA), directional coronary atherectomy (DCA), Rotablator (Boston Scientific), temporary pacemaker insertion (TPM), permanent pacemaker (PPM), intra-cardiac defibrillator (ICD), pericardiocentesis and intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) insertion. Routinely, renal and iliac stenting, with occasional stenting of the superficial femoral artery (SFA) and subclavian arteries is performed. A carotid angiography and stenting program was recently launched in our lab.

Does your cath lab perform primary angioplasty with surgical backup?

Surgical backup is available at all times. The on-call cardiovascular (CV) physician and surgical team are readily available on nights and weekends.

What procedures do you perform on an outpatient basis?

All cath lab procedures, as needed, are performed on an outpatient basis; however, inpatients who require our services are also treated.

What percentage of your patients are female?

Women comprise 38% of our patient population.

What percentage of your diagnostic cath patients go on to have an interventional procedure?

Thirty-one percent of our diagnostic left heart caths will have an intervention.

Who manages your cath lab?

Patricia Bailey, RN, BSN, manages the cath lab. She has 15 years of experience in our lab. Our clinical coordinator is Sandy Tigue, RN, BSN. Dr. Warren L. Strickland, III, MD, FACC serves as medical diretor.

Do you have cross-training? Who scrubs, who circulates and who monitors?

RNs scrub, monitor, and circulate. RTs scrub (pan the camera and table) and circulate. When using a three-person team consisting of two RNs and one RT, the two RNs trade between the scrub and monitor/circulate position; when we have one RN and two RTs, the RN monitors, one RT scrubs and the other RT pans.

Does an RT (radiologic technologist) have to be present in the room for all fluoroscopic procedures in your cath lab?

Yes, the RNs are not trained to operate the fluoroscopy equipment, thus an RT must be present.

Which personnel can operate the x-ray equipment (position the II, pan the table, change angles, step on the fluoro pedal) in your cath lab?

The RT operates the equipment and pans the table. The physician, or at his designation, the scrub person, uses the fluoro/cine pedal from the scrub side of the table.

Does your lab have a clinical ladder?

All new employees start out as a Cardiac Cath Technologist I. With documented competencies and experience, they can advance to a Tech II. To become a Tech III, there are additional requirements, such as teaching a class.

What are some of the new equipment, devices and products introduced at your lab lately?

We are using the Polar Cath (CryoVascular Systems/Boston Scientific) cryoplasty system. For carotid stenting procedures, we are using the Rapid Exchange Carotid Stent System and Embolic Protection System (Abbott Vascular Devices, Redwood City, CA).

Can you describe the system(s) you utilize and how they work in cath lab daily life?

Three of our cardiac labs are equipped with Medical Imaging Solutions (New Orleans, LA), provided through Southeast Imaging (North Little Rock, AR). Our other two labs are scheduled to be updated in 2006. Out of the five labs, the first lab was upgraded to the Axiom Artis dTC (Siemens Medical Solutions, Malvern, PA) large flat detector. The second lab is currently being installed with an Axiom Artis dTC dedicated cardiac flat detector. The remaining three labs are scheduled for upgrades to flat detector technology (also Axiom Artis dTC) at the rate of one per year for the next three years. We use the PICOM archival system by ScImage (ScImage, Inc. Los Altos, CA). Hemodynamic and event log recording are done with the Witt Calysto Series IV System (Melbourne, FL). Our scheduling is done under the OR framework in the Eclipsys 7000 Series System (Eclipsys Corp., Boca Raton, FL). To further modernize our department, we are considering the addition of the dual-source Siemens CT scanner.

How is coding and coding education handled in your lab?

Currently at Huntsville Hospital, our materials management staff enters procedural codes through the SIS by utilizing a patient charge sheet completed by clinical staff and the physician at the time of procedure. This information is communicated with the appropriate personnel in patient accounting and medical records to insure that coding and billing are accurate. However, we are currently awaiting a Witt Transcription Interface upgrade that will allow the physician to transcribe the procedure at the end of the case, and this will communicate with the proper departments to generate patient procedure charges.

How does your lab handle hemostasis?

Hemostasis is usually a matter of physician preference. We have several physicians who regularly close the arterial site using Angio-Seal (St. Jude Medical, Minnetonka, MN) after visual verification with femoral angiography. Other physicians prefer hemostasis by either manual or C-clamp pressure. D-Stat (Vascular Solutions, Maple Grove, MN) and FemoStop® Plus (Radi Medical Systems, Wilmington, DE) are also utilized. Sheaths are pulled in the recovery unit by a multi-disciplinary tech or an RN.

Does your lab have a hematoma management policy?

Hematomas are handled immediately with either manual pressure or a FemoStop Plus. Residual hematomas of greater than 3 cm are reported to the hematoma nurse, who starts data collection for quality assurance purposes.

How is inventory managed at your cath lab?

Huntsville Hospital utilizes SIS (Surgical Information Systems, Alpharetta, GA) and Lawson (St. Paul, MN) for its in-house communication, patient scheduling, billing and inventory control. Our department employs two full-time materials management staff members, one RN and one RT. Their responsibilities include:

Maintaining current par levels

Identifying par level need changes

Replacement of expired products

Coordinating all purchase requisitions for daily supplies

Participating in all supply contract negotiations

Helping in labs when needed

Supplies utilized during procedures are entered each day by the materials management staff into SIS, which interfaces with Lawson to generate an itemized patient bill, deducts from our inventory and orders supplies according to par levels.

When physicians express interest in new products, our materials management staff is responsible for completing the New Product Request Form, which contains all pertinent information related to justification and costs, and presenting it to the Clinical Operations Committee. This approach has proven to be successful for Huntsville Hospital.

Has your cath lab recently expanded in size and patient volume, or will it be in the near future?

We have three cardiology groups that utilize our cath labs: Alabama Cardiology, Huntsville Cardiovascular Clinic and The Heart Center. The Heart Center, our primary cardiology group of 28 physicians, has privileges at six smaller facilities in northern Alabama and south-central Tennessee, from which we receive numerous transfer patients and outpatient referrals. Our total number of cases has increased as well as the acuity levels.

Is your lab involved in clinical research?

We have participated in several studies and are currently involved with the ENDEAVOR stent study and the REVERSE ICD study with chronic heart failure (CHF) patients.

Have you had any cath lab-related complications in the past year requiring emergent cardiac surgery?

Our emergency CABG rate is approximately .06%.

What other modalities do you use to verify stenosis?

The iLab (Boston Scientific) or the SmartWire are occasionally used to assess difficult stenotic lesions. Our labs are also equipped to diagram and compute lesions in stenotic vessels, but our physicians are highly experienced in interventional cardiology and are able to make those decisions without aid in the great majority of cases.

What measures has your cath lab implemented in order to cut or contain costs?

Our entire staff is very cost-conscious, including our medical director. The cath lab manager, materials manager, purchasing director and medical director, working together, have a maximum purchase price allowed to insure best price. If the company does not agree to these terms, their inventory is removed from the hospital. With this in place, along with a just-in-time (JIT) warehouse, and a well-trained staff that doesn’t open a product until it is ready to be utilized, we have seen a significant reduction in costs.

What type of quality control/quality assurance measures are practiced in your cath lab?

Hematomas, handwashing and physician documentation are three quality assurance measures that are practiced. All interventions are reviewed with data collected and quantified.

In March of 2005, the Heart Alert Program was initiated at Huntsville Hospital. ST-segment elevation in suspected myocardial infarction (MI) patients, diagnosed in the field by EMT personnel or in the hospital, sets a rapid-response sequence in motion. This 24-hour-a-day program involves a dedicated ER team, pharmacy, respiratory, the house supervisor, cardiologists and the cath lab. The goal initially was to have the door-to-device (balloon or stent) time less than 90 minutes. The goal now is to have this time less than 60 minutes. The average time for the last quarter of 2005 was 68 minutes.

How does your cath lab compete for patients? Has your institution formed an alliance with others in the area?

We have a strong presence in the area as the largest hospital in north Alabama and the primary hospital for The Heart Center, a group of 28 cardiologists who maintain offices at a number of facilities throughout north Alabama and southern Tennessee. We receive referrals from all of these facilities.

How are new employees oriented and trained at your facility?

Employees from outside the hospital system receive a general hospital orientation first. They also take a test to assess their basic cardiac knowledge. All new employees receive a cath lab orientation from our education coordinator, who schedules classes on an as-needed basis and assists the preceptor in skills and knowledge assessment. Each employee is precepted one-on-one by selected, experienced personnel for at least 120 days or until they are proficient in the scrub/monitor or scrub/tech position. Each employee is provided a copy of The Cardiac Catheterization Handbook by Morton Kern, MD and is encouraged to read it. Current state licensure/ ARRT is required.

What type of continuing education opportunities are provided to staff members?


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