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Patient doing well after complex vascular procedures

Jul. 28, 2022, 9:28 AM


by Matt Batcheldor

Marsha Eastridge had no clue she had heart problems until she was diagnosed on Dec. 21, 2021. Barely three weeks later, she was undergoing the first of two complex vascular procedures at Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute (VHVI) that would save her life.

The multidisciplinary, comprehensive care she received at Vanderbilt — all in one hospital stay — involved the Medical Center’s top heart and vascular doctors and its new hybrid operating rooms. The new space, opened in November 2021, includes the latest advanced imaging equipment, simplifying procedures and allowing them to be more efficient and safer for patients. No other hospital in Middle Tennessee offers such comprehensive care.

Marsha Eastridge is doing well following the surgical procedures she received at Vanderbilt.
Marsha Eastridge is doing well following the surgical procedures she received at Vanderbilt.

For Eastridge, the care was also very personal. She recalls how her surgeon on the first procedure — Ashish Shah, MD, professor and chair of Cardiac Surgery — cancelled his vacation to perform the surgery. “A lot of doctors wouldn’t have done that,” she said.

Eastridge, 71, lives in Vonore, Tennessee, just about 45 minutes outside of Knoxville. She has high blood pressure and measures it twice daily. One day, her reading was 183 over 100. She called her local doctor’s office, who told her to go straight to the emergency room. After imaging, doctors discovered the extent of her problem. In their opinion, she needed an advanced medical center.

Eastridge was referred to Shah at VUMC, who first saw her on Dec. 21, 2021. “Dr. Shah did not let me leave the hospital,” she said.

Eastridge would spend 21 days in the hospital, having two major surgeries 12 days apart. The first was an ascending aneurysm procedure involving Shah, and the second was a hybrid endovascular procedure involving Daniel Clair, MD, professor and chair of Vascular Surgery.

Shah said the hybrid ORs, two of which opened last year, are a significant investment built to manage patients who require multiple specialties to tackle complicated procedures.

At approximately 1,175 square feet each, the hybrid ORs are nearly double the size of traditional operating rooms and stocked with the Siemens ARTIS pheno imaging system, dominated by a large robotic arm, ready to assist in the most sophisticated procedures.

“In building these new hybrid operating rooms, VUMC has created opportunities for collaboration between disciplines and an inspiring platform to come up with novel solutions to difficult problems,” Shah said. “Patients with thoracic aneurysms may seem too sick for surgical treatments, but our aggressive approach means real hope. They don’t have to live in fear every day.”

The hybrid OR design enables minimally invasive procedures to take place in combination with traditional open surgical approaches. Meanwhile, advanced, real-time imaging allows surgeons to better monitor the procedures, allowing them to take place more efficiently.

“Coupled with these new spaces is the presence of Dan Clair, our new chair of vascular surgery,” Shah said. “Having a world expert in complex aortic aneurysm disease elevates what we can offer to patients regionally, nationally and internationally.”

Eastridge complimented her extensive care team on her hospital stay.

“Everybody was just wonderful,” she said. “All the nurses, all the nurses’ assistants were absolutely fabulous. The therapists and everyone were just wonderful.”

Just months after her procedures and rehabilitation, Eastridge feels well.

“They saved my life,” she said. “I’m very grateful.”

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