Friday, October 03, 2014

TOP STORY >> North Metro adds new technology

Leader staff writer

North Metro Medical Center in Jacksonville recently added lithotripsy, a noninvasive procedure that treats kidney stones, to its repertoire.

Dr. Samuel Houston, the hospital’s urologist, said the lithotripsy machine works by sending shock waves through the patients’ sides to break up the stones, which are located in real time using fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that utilizes X-rays.

The doctor explained that kidney stones are calcium that has built up for a number of reasons, including metabolic, renal or thyroid problems. It is a “nondiscriminatory” condition that strikes all ages groups, from people in their 20s to seniors.

Patients receive general anesthesia during a lithotripsy. Chief Nursing Officer Deb Bostic said the outpatient procedure could take up to two hours if a patient has multiple stones on both sides.

Houston said it could be completed in just 30 minutes with some patients. Bostic clarified that the procedure is quicker when there is only one stone on one side.

Houston has performed about 20 procedures in the couple of months North Metro has leased the lithotripsy machine from Arkansas Kidney Stone Management on a case-by-case basis.

“They’ve all done very well,” Houston said.

Bostic explained the cost. She said, “The lithotripsy machine comes with a tech. The company provides that service. So it’s not any equipment that we had to purchase.”

She continued, “They provide the table that the patient rests on while they’re having the procedure. As far as the facility goes, we only provide the anesthesia and nurse that stays in the room with the patient. Then they do all the rest.”

A patient’s insurance, Medicaid or Medicare plan covers the price of leasing the equipment.

Bostic added that the procedure had been performed on a bi-weekly basis, an average of four or five times per month. She expects use to increase, too, as word gets out.

Bostic said one goal she has is to have enough procedures scheduled that the machine is at North Metro for the whole day.

Houston said, “(The pa-tients) appreciate it. They like it. It’s a lot easier than open surgery or passing stones, less invasive. It’s relatively pain free because they have general anesthesia.”

The doctor and Bostic touted the procedure as having less risk of infection, faster recovery times and causing fewer side effects.

Bostic said the patients usually experience soreness after they receive a lithotripsy.

CEO Cindy Stafford said North Metro added the service when research backed Houston’s assertions that it was needed.

She continued, “The patients are very satisfied, pleased that they can stay in the community to have their procedure done, and Dr. Houston is happy to be able to provide that service here as well and not have to go outside of Jacksonville.”

Bostic said people should come to North Metro for the procedure because its staff has 100 years of combined experience.

Stafford agreed that the hospital offers the “best care close to home.” She added, “This is the first of many new and upcoming (positive announcements).”