Arkansas Business' 25 Health Care Advances (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

The staff and crew of Baptist MedFlight.

8. UAMS BioVentures
UAMS BioVentures was formed by UAMS as the state's first biomedical business incubator, helping researchers commercialize their lab work. By 2009, the incubator has generated more than 175 patents and 52 license agreements with biotechnology, medical device and pharmaceutical companies.

Some notable incubator companies include Safe Foods Corp. of North Little Rock, which markets an antimicrobial process for reducing food-borne pathogens, and Contour Med of Little Rock, which manufactures custom breast prostheses.

9. Gamma Knife
UAMS opened the Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Center, which offers a noninvasive alternative to brain surgery for conditions such as tumors and trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic pain condition. The Gamma Knife aims 192 tiny cobalt-60 beams of radiation at the site of the tumor. Patients typically don't need general anesthesia and can leave the hospital in a few hours.

10. Vertebroplasty
The first vertebroplasty procedure in Arkansas was performed at St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center in Little Rock. The outpatient treatment is used to relieve painful compression fractures of the spine, which are sometimes caused by osteoporosis. The surgery calls for placing a needle into a broken bone and injecting an orthopedic cement to fill in fractures, eliminating or reducing pain in 90 percent of patients.

Dr. Steve Dunnagan of Radiology Associates PA of Little Rock was a pioneer of the procedure in Arkansas.

11. Myeloma Institute for Research & Therapy
UAMS established the world's first Myeloma Institute for Research & Therapy, which has become an international leader in the treatment and study of multiple myeloma and related diseases. It also is one of the largest referral centers in the world. In 2008, led by Dr. Bart Barlogie, the institute was the first in the nation to use gene therapy to treat the rare cancer. Research led by Barlogie at the institute has improved the average survival rate of myeloma patients from three years after diagnosis to more than seven years.

12. Da Vinci Surgical System
Arkansas Children's Hospital bought the state's first Da Vinci Surgical System, which allows surgeons to use computers to guide tiny instruments with precision. At the time, only 115 hospitals nationwide had one. It was first used for chest and abdominal surgeries at ACH, but within five years other hospitals around Arkansas would have Da Vinci systems for urologists, gynecologists, general surgeons and other surgical specialties. In 2005, Baptist Health Medical Center in North Little Rock performed the state's first minimally invasive treatment for patients with prostate cancer using the da Vinci prostatectomy.

13. Medical Cyclotron
St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center became the first facility in Arkansas to offer a new test that tracks the blood flow of a patient's heart. The test became available because St. Vincent also was the first in Arkansas to produce radioisotopes on site using the state's first medical cyclotron, which was acquired in 2003. The heart test uses radioisotopes that are used in Positron Emission Tomography technology for imaging in diagnosing heart problems, cancer and other illnesses.

14. St. Vincent Memory Center
St. Vincent Health System opened the St. Vincent Memory Center, the first center in Arkansas developed specifically to diagnose and treat memory loss.

15. DeBakey Ventricular Assist Device
Led by Dr. Jonathan Drummond-Webb, the heart team at Arkansas Children's Hospital performed the world's first successful heart transplant on a child – a 14-year-old Cabot boy – who first had a miniaturized heart pump known as the DeBakey VAD Child, a ventricular assist device. The DeBakey improves blood flow for children ages 5 to 16 who are waiting for a heart transplant, allowing some of them to go home while waiting for a new heart. Fifty-six days after the DeBakey surgery, Drummond-Webb took the patient off the DeBakey pump to receive a new heart.

16. Liver Transplant
The first liver transplant in Arkansas was performed at UAMS and was led by Dr. Youmin Wu. Since then the state's only liver transplant program has performed nearly 100 transplants with a one-year survival rate of 98.3 percent. The national average is 87.9 percent.

17. Arcadis Orbic 3D
St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center became the first in Arkansas and one of only 32 medical centers in the country to provide 3D imaging in surgery with the Arcadis Orbic 3D system. The 3D imaging system can provide 100 images in 60 seconds. It also can continue to capture images as needed to identify changes that occur during surgery. The Arcadis Orbic 3D also can partner with another navigation system, eliminating the need for manual alignment for orthopedic surgery.



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