New device eliminates invasive surgery - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New device eliminates invasive surgery

February 20, 2003

TIFTON - You can call it the wave of the future, because they really are waves, monitoring the blood flow of Lindsey, our volunteer intensive care patient.

"OK, I'm going to put this on your ribs," ICU Nurse JoAnn Pritchett said.

It's called impedance cardiography, and Tift Regional Medical Center is the first hospital to get it.

"Instead of having to insert large catheter through a vein, all we do is insert electrodes on neck and chest."

Then nurses insert a patient's age and body type, and can begin monitoring vital statistics like blood flow, cardiac output and systematic vascular resistance.

"When we look at monitors we get extra info," Pritchett said. "We can make extra interventions, so it's a great addition to what we're doing."

The machines, geared toward heart patients, have one distinct advantage, they can measure the amount fluid around the heart or lungs.

"With diagnosis of congestive heart failure this number rises and gives us better idea of how to treat patients," said Pritchett.

Besides better care, it's also cutting down medical bills.

"For patients cost is almost minimal, get to treat more quickly accurately, and they have shorter ICU stays," Pritchett said.

Meaning more people who really need it can get into these 14 beds with around the clock care and monitoring.

The Impedance Cardiography machines cost about $14,000 each. Tift Regional says its getting many calls from hospitals interested in seeing how the new technology is doing.

posted at 5:50 p.m. by dave.d'marko@walb.com

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