SPMC Heart Institute: Keeping hearts beat

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014


A HUMAN beats around 100,000 per day pumping around 2,000 gallons of oxygen filled blood throughout your body making it the most hard working muscle in that body of yours.

Since 2007, the Southern Philippines Medical Center Heart Institute (SPMC-HI) (formerly the Mindanao Heart Center) makes sure that the hearts of their patients keep beating and pumping.

SPMC-HI has become one of the top heart treatment facilities in the country with its world class equipments and facilities and receiving hundreds of patients from Mindanao and even from the Luzon and Visayas.

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Determined to further boost its competitiveness and service to the Filipinos, the institute made its main agenda this year to train its doctors with the latest innovation in heart treatment, the minimally invasive heart surgery.

"Nowdays, during surgical procedures, as much as possible, we make small incisions because traditionally the incisions are big," said Dr. Mark Edward Anthony M. Maruya, SPMC-HI operating room head.

Maruya said they will be sending doctors to the United States to get training on the procedure either within this year or in 2015. He said they will first focus on the training of minimally invasive valve surgery.

"The minimally invasive surgery is technically demanding but through proper training we can attain technical expertise. If you venture to something new it is tantamount to saying you have to start from scratch," he said.

Maruya said minimally invasive surgery is present already in SPMC but only in general surgey but not for the heart.

"If this pushes through we will be the first in the Philippines to practice this technique," he said.

Maruya said some of the benefits include lower risk of infection, lower risk of bleeding, less pain, and the scars from the operation are barely noticeable.

Aside from the training, SPMC-HI also recently acquired a new equipment last year, two Autologo Cell Savers.

The autolog cell saver collects blood, by way of suction, from the patient while in surgery then it cleans the blood and returns it to the patient after the surgery.

Maruya said the autolog cell saver has been a great help to them and the patients. He said before they usually need 16 units of blood for the patient after surgery but right now most cases do not need any units of blood.

"Some of its advantages is it can avoid complications of blood transfusion infection like AIDS, Hepatitis, and other blood borne diseases and renal and pulmunary complications," he said.

SPMC-HI is also the only heart center in the country to use the autolog cell savers as part of its routinal procedures on adults during an open heart procedure.

The institute also makes use of a centrifugal pump over double headed roller pump. Maruya said the centrifugal pump avoids blood damage or destruction of blood cells.

Aside from the world-class facilities and staff, SPMC-HI also extends huge assitance to the indigenous people by way of their yearly surgical mission every January.

"The mission is an all expense paid assistance to them. We have been doing this for six years already and we have around 20 patients per year," Maruya said.

As it moves forward as one of the top heart institutes in the country, SPMC chief of hospital Dr. Leopoldo J. Vega eyes to improve the services of SPMC-HI by providing better training to its personnel and adopting advanced technology and latest practices in heart treatment.

He said they envision the institute will be able to exceed its capability now in handling patients by way of improving the skills of the personnel and adopting new practices and technology.

Vega said they are currently coming up with a training program for the doctors on cardio vascular surgery and cardiology specialization.

"This is also to continually make the heart institute as an area of expertise where the people can have the confidence and a good outcome from the services being provided," he said.

Vega also said they are eyeing to go into a hybrid operating rooms, which has a mixture of equipments and facilities capable of minimally invasive heart surgery, cardiac catherization, and open heart surgery.

"We are moving into the direction wherein we will be able to give as much services and be accessible to the majority here (in Mindanao) that needs heart operation," he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 06, 2014.

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