LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -February is National Heart Month.
Each day this month, we will take a look at different topics about the heart, such as aortic valve replacement.
A newer technique is now being used in aortic valve replacement operations at Comanche County Memorial Hospital, with the biggest difference being the incision or access point.
"Patients always want something that hurts less, that lets them move sooner and one way to do that is to do a less invasive surgery. In some surgeries, you can do that with scopes or cameras. In this particular surgery we are taking a full sternotomy and converting that into a partial," said Dr. Aaron Trachte, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Comanche County Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Trachte says this means the incision is half the size as in the prior technique, and it leaves most of the breast bone intact.
"A lot of the pain people have after heart surgery comes from the incision and the movement of their breast bone when they cough, when they have to get up and walk and move their arms. If you only move part of the breast bone, it lets the rest of the bone stay steady."
Dr. Trachte says this allows patients to be able to use their arms immediately after surgery, shortens recovery time, increases activity and causes less overall pain. Ideally this procedure is for patients who only need a valve replacement, and not any other heart procedures. He says it's a team effort, and fortunately they've had the same steady team for many years, so it wasn't hard for them to make this adaptation to what they were doing before.
"It takes a good anesthesiologist to put the catheters where we need them. Dr. Reedy has been doing that with us because he did that at his previous hospital. It takes the team of our caregivers, our perfusionist, our scrub techs and nurses to set everything up to make that work," Dr. Trachte said.
Dr. Trachte says patients have had great outcomes with this procedure, and they hope to use this technique in the future for additional operations.
"As we get more comfortable with everything, we are always trying to make it smaller, less painful and a faster recovery and this is just one more tool to get there," Dr. Trachte said.
In other health news, Comanche County Memorial Hospital will host a weight loss options luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 11:30 a.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center. The cost is $5 and includes a healthy lunch. The guest speaker will be bariatric surgeon Dr. Michael Sawyer. He will be discussing innovative weight loss options. For more information and to make a reservation, call 580-585-5406.