NEWS BLOG from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Archive for April, 2016

ISMETT Opens First Hybrid Operating Room


Patients in southern and central Italy who need complicated heart surgery no longer need to travel for the best care.

The Istituto Mediterraneo per i Trapianti e Terapie ad Alta Specializzazione (ISMETT) recently opened a new, state-of-the-art hybrid operating room in Sicily — the first south of Rome — which is being used to perform complex cardiovascular procedures on patients.

“The quality of a health system is measured by its ability to accommodate people in technologically advanced facilities,” said Angelo Luca, M.D., chief executive officer of Palermo-based ISMETT. “Meeting this challenge means allowing professionals to operate with state-of-the-art tools and equipment to guarantee that the patient is at the center of care.”

A hybrid operating room houses high-quality imaging equipment and technology, and allows doctors to conduct both interventional and surgical procedures in the same space. It also allows a multidisciplinary team to operate on at-risk patients through the use of interventional techniques that don’t require the opening of the chest, such as an artificial valve implant where the native one is diseased.

The new facility is equipped with all the equipment required to guide clinicians during the procedure, as well as monitoring equipment and devices such as a heart-lung machine, automatic ventilator and ventricular assist devices to cope with any kind of emergency.

The hybrid operating room — modeled after those used at UPMC in the U.S. — will also allow surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures and cardiac surgery hybrid interventions on coronary arteries and cardiac valves; vascular endoprosthesis surgery on the aorta and large vessels; complex angio-radiology intervention on patients with congenital cardiac diseases; and arrhythmia treatment with electrophysiology studies and ablation.

ISMETT, a leading Italian transplant hospital managed by UPMC, was recently ranked among the top hospitals in the country based on 30-day mortality rates following cardiac, thoracic and abdominal surgeries.

For more information, click here. (more…)

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Nancy Davidson Selected President of American Association for Cancer Research


Nancy Davidson, M.D., director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, officially assumed the presidency of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) today at the AACR Annual Meeting 2016.

She will work collaboratively with the AACR board of directors and the AACR membership, which includes more than 35,000 members in 104 countries, to further the association’s mission to prevent and cure cancer through research, education, communication and collaboration.

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Pennsylvania College of Emergency Physicians Honors UPMC Mercy Physician


Michael Turturro, M.D., chief of emergency services at UPMC Mercy and associate professor of emergency medicine at University of Pittsburgh, received the 2016 Pennsylvania College of Emergency Physicians (PACEP) Emergency Physician of the Year Award at the organization’s annual Scientific Assembly.

Each year, PACEP honors one emergency clinician of unusual merit who has who has achieved distinction and peer recognition for outstanding performance as a physician role model, patient advocate, contributor to community service and education, and practices high quality emergency medical care.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award and thankful for all the talented individuals I continue to work with at both UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who assist me in every regard, every day,” Dr. Turturro said.

Dr. Turturro and the staff at UPMC Mercy’s Emergency Department provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art emergency care to more than 65,000 people annually from throughout the Western Pennsylvania region.

Dr. Turturro earned his medical degree at the State University of New York. He completed residency at the University of Pittsburgh.

The PACEP Emergency Physician of the Year Award was established in 1999. (more…)

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Thanking Volunteers During National Volunteer Week


Happy National Volunteer Week and thank you to the 5,348 individuals who volunteered at UPMC facilities last year.

Altogether, more than 414,000 hours of service were given to patients and facilities. Volunteer management has changed a lot in the last 20 years, but one thing has remained constant – it would be difficult to imagine a hospital without volunteers.

In most facilities, volunteers range in age from 14 to 90 years old, with backgrounds and experiences as diverse as their ages. One of the most rewarding parts of being a volunteer director is meeting high school and college students who aspire to work in health care, then reconnecting later when they have realized their dreams.

One such example was when I was seen by a new physician in my primary care physician’s office who asked me if I remembered him as a 15-year-old volunteer. I see every day how our staff and a student’s volunteer experience can influence an educational tract or solidify a career decision.

This is personified by Dr. Domenic Mantella, UPMC family medicine physician who volunteered at UPMC Passavant from 1998 to 2001.

“Volunteering is a service to your community that pays major dividends,” Dr. Mantella said. “For me, I was able to learn some important skills that I use in my career as a physician. I also benefited from the early exposure to medicine in my high school years that helped to shape my fascination with medicine and helping others.” (more…)

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Advocating for Donor Decisions

Dr. Humar with staff around C.O.W.

On an average day, 750,000 people trek through Grand Central Station in New York City. This hub gathers commuters from 67 different train tracks and routes them to their destination.

The human body has a similar hub, but one that comes in a smaller package. Weighing in at 3.5 pounds, the liver collects everything a person eats and drinks, and repackages it for his or her body to use or eliminate — the body’s personal Grand Central Station.

The problem is, not all livers can handle the body’s constant traffic, and each year 1,400 people die waiting for a life-saving liver on the transplant waiting list.

UPMC’s Living-Donor Liver Transplant program is making strides to combat those numbers by allowing donors to give a portion of their healthy liver to a recipient, freeing them from the race against the clock. As part of one of the busiest programs in the country, UPMC surgeons perform 20 to 25 living-donor transplants each year.

“We have one of the most recognized programs in the country, both for adult and pediatric patients, and have been performing this procedure routinely for the last 15 years,” said Abhinav Humar, M.D., chief of transplantation, UPMC, and clinical leader of the Living-Donor Liver Transplant program. (more…)

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