Benefis Makes History With New Heart Care Imaging Technology

On April 17, the first patients will benefit from a trailblazing new hybrid cardiac catheterization lab at Benefis Health System. 

“We are making history here at Benefis,” said Dr. Michael D. Eisenhauer, an interventional cardiologist who will use the new cath lab. “I expect it will be a model for other programs, and it’s going to make a difference for our patients.”

The Benefis cath lab is the first in the world to use a new piece of technology for imaging. The ARTIS icono angiography system provides a streaming X-ray for an incredible view into a patient. It will be used for stroke treatment, pacemaker installation, resolution of clogged arteries, foot circulation problems, and many more interventional procedures from head to toe. 

Forrest Ehlinger, executive vice president and system chief resources officer, called it "an honor" to be first to put the new technology to work treating patients.

"It's going to provide them cutting-edge technology to take care of all of our patients, as well as give them more room to move freely and provide the best care possible," he said. "We're excited to be able to bring this technology to patients and really move us ahead to the next level of care."

The machine processes 300 million data points to generate the images, which represents a new level of nuance and precision. The scans take half the time of previous models. 

It’s also incredibly flexible, suspended from the ceiling in such a way it can move all around the patient but with artificial intelligence to ensure imaging positioning to submillimeter accuracy.

While the new imaging system represents a remarkable leap in quality, it also is safer. Scans have a 50% lower dose of radiation for patients and staff. 

The new imaging system is at the center of the new Benefis hybrid cath lab. While it will primarily be a cath lab, the space can quickly convert to an operating room when a patient needs a higher level of care. That could mean switching from a simple stent to open heart surgery. That is crucial time saved for patients.

The cath lab also will be able to accommodate heavier patients, up from a 450-pound maximum to a new 617-pound cap. 

Donors to Benefis Foundation helped make the investment in this upgrade possible, another example of philanthropy elevating hometown healthcare. 

Related: New Heart Procedure Is the Tip of the Iceberg for Benefis Heart and Vascular