PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Wednesday August 16, 2017 – After three years of success providing medical services to regional and international patients, a Cayman Islands hospital wants to work with other regional health care providers to meet the urgent demand for high quality and affordable tertiary health care in the Caribbean.
Presenting at the Caribbean Cardiac Society’s 32nd Caribbean Cardiology Conference in Trinidad and Tobago last month, Health City Cayman Islands physicians Dr. Ravi Kishore, Interventional Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist, and Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil, Chief Cardiac and Senior Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon, shared the hospital’s latest achievements in the field including the growing regional demand for the tertiary care services offered at Health City.
The Joint Commission International-accredited hospital has treated more than 29,000 patients in its first three years, performing almost 2,000 procedures, including over 640 orthopedic surgeries, and more than 280 cardiac surgeries, with overall infection and readmission rates of less than 1 percent.
“The first time we attended the Caribbean Cardiac Society meeting, we were considered as outsiders,” recalled Dr. Kishore. “Nobody really knew about us, but I think now we are fully integrated into the regional community of cardiologists, and they’re pretty appreciative of our work, and the scope of referrals for services such as electrophysiology and pediatric cardiac surgery,” said the India- and UK-trained physician.
Based in Grand Cayman, the hospital has been spreading its reach by partnering with top Caribbean cardiologists and other physicians. It has treated patients from across the Caribbean, from Anguilla and Barbados to Haiti, Jamaica and the Turks and Caicos Islands. In fact, Health City Cayman Islands recently began direct charter flights to transport patients from St. Maarten to Grand Cayman for specialized medical treatment.
Based on that demand, Health City is considering collaborating with other facilities in the region to bring compassionate, high-quality, affordable specialized health care services to many more who need it.
Dr. Chattuparambil, who believes demand for pediatric cardiology is likely to continue growing in the months ahead, said, “Sixty percent of all my work is pediatrics and … we are getting (pediatric patients) from across the globe.”
Health City was the first hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean to use robotic navigation for joint replacements and the first to install two artificial hearts or left ventricle assist devices (LVADs). Other Caribbean firsts include performing transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR) or implantations (TAVI); minimally invasive clot extraction for strokes, which dramatically improves post-stroke outcomes; and renal denervation, a minimally invasive procedure using radiofrequency ablation to treat resistant hypertension.
Delegates at the July conference, which had as its theme “No Heart Left Behind: Regional Development Through Interdependence”, learned of the affordable alternatives Health City is providing, compared with other service providers in the United States and Latin America.
Dr. Kishore presented the “Health City Experience: Radiofrequency Ablations for Supraventricular Tachycardia?” and “Cryoablation in Atrial Fibrillation – Current Status”, bringing attention to the comprehensive electrophysiology expertise now available in the Western Caribbean.
Earlier this year, Health City became the first hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean to perform cryoablation for atrial fibrillation. The new technology introduces a deflated cryoballoon into the heart. Doctors introduce the balloon catheter into the groin and thread it into the pulmonary veins, located in the back of the heart, where the impulses that trigger the atrial fibrillation come from, and then inflate the balloon and freeze the vein for about two to three minutes, quickly and effectively destroying the source of the fibrillation.
Dr. Chattuparambil’s presentation on “Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) – Advanced Support for the Failing Heart and/or Lungs – Experience and Results at Health City Cayman Islands” introduced a rare state-of-the-art option in the Caribbean for the management of advanced heart or lung failure.
ECMO stands for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (extracorporeal means outside the body). The ECMO procedure involves channeling the patient’s blood into a roller pump that serves as the patient’s “heart” throughout treatment. The ECMO machine is connected to a patient through plastic tubes (cannula) placed in large veins and arteries in the legs, neck or chest. The pump sends blood through an oxygenator, which serves as an artificial lung, infusing the blood with oxygen and removing carbon dioxide and returning it to the patient. During extracorporeal membrane oxygenation treatment, the patient’s heart continues to beat, but its work is made easier because the ECMO machine does much of the pumping.
Health City Cayman Islands is the only medical center in the Caribbean offering ECMO services, and has achieved a survival rate of 90 percent among patients who have been weaned off of the advanced life support option.