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Via Christi introduces hybrid operating room

In the new cutting-edge surgery suite, doctors at Via Christi Health can perform lifesaving techniques never before available in Wichita. This facility brings the tools of a heart catherization lab, an operating room and radiology together in one space – a Hybrid Operating Room. This new OR ranks Via Christi as a top regional medical center with one of only 125 hybrid operating rooms in the nation.

The 1,400-square foot suite allows patients who might not be candidates for open-heart surgery to undergo less invasive surgical procedures and disease treatment not available before.

The $4.5 million project converted two traditional operating rooms into one. Creating the new operating room located on the third floor, came with unique challenges.

The equipment in the new hybrid operating room produces massive amounts of heat, and procedures in the suite need to performed between 55°F and 80°F. Plus The room is required to swing between those two extremes in less than ten minutes and stay below 60% relative humidity at all times throughout these temperature fluctuations. “The facility required the installation of a new rooftop air handling unit with a desiccant dehumidifier,” said Tracy Dible, PEC’s mechanical project engineer. “All of the ductwork, piping and mechanical equipment had to coordinate with the existing mechanical systems, new electrical systems and the medical equipment. Then it had to be shoehorned into an existing space with limited clear height.”

“We had to update the room without losing power,” said Dennis Downes, PEC’s Healthcare team leader. “We couldn’t turn off the power because surgeries were still going on around us during the renovation,”

Speaking of power, this mega room “requires three times as much electricity as a normal operating room,” added Downes. “It has an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to assure the operating room will not lose power.”

Now, power will never be a problem and innovation will be the norm – especially when lives are being saved.