Vascular Centers Are Addressing an Unmet Demand

Historically, hospitals have focused on growing their cardiology programs and services that treat atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and other heart conditions. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that programs to address systemic vascular disease ― cerebrovascular, carotid, aortic, and peripheral vascular are needed to address a growing and unmet need. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that non-coronary vascular stenosis and arterial breakdown is a prevalent disease in the United States. Up to 12 million people are estimated to have peripheral arterial disease (PAD) compared to the same number (12 to 13 million) with coronary artery disease (CAD). With the emphases on CAD as a serious health problem in the U.S., vascular disease is more often under-diagnosed and as a result is frequently under-treated.

CURRENT TREND

Diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases — which include any arterial system outside the region of the heart — has rapidly transitioned to less–invasive modalities performed by different subspecialists such as vascular surgeons, cardiologists, radiologists, neurologists, and nephrologists. Sophisticated imaging such as computerized tomography (CT), CT/angiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and MRI/angiography, and positron emission tomography (PET) scans — along with the latest endovascular tools, equipment, and devices — provide a tremendous arsenal for treating the debilitating effects of vascular disease. All of these approaches are less traumatic than older open surgical procedures.

About Vascular Disease
Vascular disease affects the arteries. Common terms include:

Cerebrovascular — affecting the blood flow to the brain
Carotid — arteries in the neck that lead to the brain
Aortic — the largest artery in the body that extends from the heart into the abdomen
Peripheral — affecting the blood flow to limbs

When developing a vascular center, endovascular workload volumes are generally estimated at three times the number of coronary interventional procedures. If a patient has coronary artery disease, there is an increased probability that there may be disease and possible serious stenosis in other blood vessels throughout the body.

VASCULAR CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE

A vascular “center of excellence” generally includes an endovascular suite to provide minimally invasive vascular surgery procedures along with specialized and hybrid CT, MR, and angiography. Associated programs may also include cardiac rehabilitation, smoking cessation, wound care management, and diabetes care. With the cost of a state-of-art endovascular suite at $2 million or more, prudent healthcare organizations are designing dual-purpose facilities that can service the vascular and cardiac populations to optimize limited capital dollars.

This article is an update of a previous post.