When patients need access to the very latest medical advances, our clinical teams are there to help.
LVADs. In 2013, the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute marked the 20th anniversary of its left ventricular assist device (LVAD) program. Since the first LVAD was implanted at LDS Hospital in 1993, nearly 600 patients with severe heart failure have received these life-sustaining devices at Intermountain.
PET scans. Positron emission tomography (PET) technology provides the most accurate imaging test to determine if part of the heart muscle is receiving inadequate blood flow—and it delivers only half the radiation of other imaging options. Intermountain is the only healthcare provider in the region to offer this technology.
Minimally invasive heart valve procedures. Physicians at Intermountain Medical Center are often able to perform procedures to repair or replace heart valves without standard open heart surgery. In appropriate cases, our team can replace aortic valves using a catheter threaded through the groin artery, through a small incision in the chest to go directly into the heart, or through a small incision near a large artery. We can similarly fix some other valves and heart structure abnormalities.
Portable heart/lung pumps. Intermountain improves outcomes for patients who have catastrophic events, called cardiogenic shock, compromising their heart function. CardioHelp Life Support System is a compact, portable external blood pump that can be rapidly deployed—in less than 15 minutes—to support heart and lung function and minimize damage to critical organs. Caregivers at Intermountain use this technology in the operating room, in emergency situations at the patient bedside, and during transport from one hospital to another. Thanks to new standards of care using CardioHelp, survival rates for patients at risk of cardiogenic shock have increased significantly.
Dissolving stents. Heart specialists commonly insert a stent—a small mesh tube—through a catheter to open up a clogged or weak artery. Traditionally, the stent stays in the artery, where tissue and plaque may build up around the stent over time. Intermountain is one of the first healthcare systems to introduce a new procedure using a bio-absorbable stent that opens up a clogged artery and then dissolves completely.
Calculating risk. Intermountain researchers have developed an innovative tool designed to reduce 30-day readmissions for heart failure patients and improve their quality of care. The computerized tool combines information from a patient’s electronic medical record and other sources and calculates a score indicating risk factors, including the patient’s likelihood of returning to the hospital. Intermountain Medical Center is tied for the nation’s lowest 30-day readmission rate for heart attack patients, and Intermountain’s Dixie Regional Medical Center also ranks among the nation’s 50 hospitals with the lowest 30-day readmission rates.
BMI in diabetic patients. Researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, in collaboration with researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health, have discovered a simple way to help predict a diabetic patient’s risk for heart disease: Measure the body mass index (BMI). The study is part of a larger landmark, randomized trial designed to determine if using computerized tomography (CT) scans to screen for heart disease in diabetic patients who don’t have heart disease symptoms can help save lives. As Intermountain researchers measured plaque buildup in study participants, they found that the greater the patient’s BMI, the greater their risk for heart disease. Findings from the study are significant, since 75 percent of deaths for people with diabetes are caused by heart disease.
Gamma knife. Intermountain offers advanced gamma knife technology. The gamma knife directs 192 precise beams of radiation to treat small cancers, usually cancer that has spread to the brain, without having to irradiate the entire brain and without surgical intervention.
Nanotechnology. Primary tumors of the liver, called hepatomas, are notoriously difficult to treat. Liver transplantation is a potentially curative approach, but the availability of a donor organ is not necessarily predictable. For some patients who are candidates for liver transplants, a treatment is available that can help prepare the way for possible transplants. Clinical teams may be able to use TheraSphere technology, which infuses microscopic radioactive glass spheres into the arteries feeding liver tumors and reduces their size, extending life in many cases and allowing transplantation to proceed if donor organs become available.
Rapid diagnosis. Intermountain has developed a process that makes diagnosis of leukemia possible within 24 hours for some patients, with appropriate chemotherapy treatment identified and started within one to two days. Early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better outcomes.
Identifying donors. As part of a groundbreaking treatment protocol, Intermountain is expanding the group of potential donors for certain bone marrow transplant recipients—cutting in half the number of factors needed for a successful donor match.