My job is amazing – at times; yesterday was one of those times. Working with the cardiovascular and marketing teams from Signature Healthcare, we live tweeted every step of a transradial coronary intervention involving cardiac catheterization, angioplasty and stent placement. We even had the dissection of the coronary artery and the placement of an additional stent to repair the damaged lining of the arterial wall. The cool thing was – I was in the middle of it all, together with one of my co-workers, Kate Rudy. This was the culmination of more than a month of preparation on the part of everyone involved.
We interviewed the interventional cardiologists, researched the benefits and potential complications of the radial pathway, watched the procedure on YouTube, and wrote a script that we felt accurately laid out the minute steps of the transradial coronary intervention – covering the potential scenarios. Then we had the interventional cardiology team critique and edit the script. That document became the foundation for the Twittercast. It was our road map; although the road kept changing and shifting before our very eyes. All the more reason to start with a map!
The procedure was scheduled for 9am. Of course, we were Tweeting all morning leading up to the event. Kate, gathering input and guidance from Dr. Geagea (chief of cardiology), would Tweet the step-by-step details of the coronary intervention. Dr. Geagea was with us in the control room and provided play-by-play. Having him there with us was key to the success of the Twittercast. Meanwhile, Dr. Tahir and his team were in the procedure room with our patient. My job was to move between the control room and the procedure room, capturing the process on video and still photos – and them Tweeting them out as quickly as possible so they would be real time and fit with the sequence of the Twittercast.
Of course, as expected, we had a patient in cardiac arrest come in through the ED at 8am, just as the team was prepping our patient. There are procedure rooms on either side of the control room, so two interventions can take place at the same time, with no problem. The folks from the ED brought up the patient that was having an MI, and that patient became the immediate priority. Dr. Geagea jumped into action with no hesitation, and took the lead with this new patient. In less than an hour he performed a coronary intervention using the radial pathway (through the radial artery in the wrist) and cleared the blockage. It was amazing to watch the team perform in an emergency situation, yet remain so calm and orchestrated. This was business as usually and they perform at an incredibly high level, every day.
Once Dr. Geagea finished up with the patient in cardiac arrest, he joined us in the control room as Dr. Tahir began the coronary stent placement procedure with our original patient – a 53-year-old woman who agreed to participate in the Twittercast and who signed a HIPAA release allowing us to share this information.
Here are two video clips from my interview with Dr. Tahir the evening prior to the procedure. You’ll hear him explain his strategy based on his review of the diagnostic angiography performed earlier – and you’ll see images from the angiography in the second video:
Here’s a brief video clip of Dr. Tahir accessing the radial artery at the beginning of the procedure.
To get a feel for the full extent of the event, I invite you to visit the Storify that we produced to curate the Twittercast. There you’ll have access to the running narrative as well as videos and photos from the procedure. Here’s the link to the Storify: https://storify.com/SignatureHlth/transradial-cardiac-catheterization-live-tweet