Bethesda Heart Hospital has become the first hospital in Palm Beach County — and one of just a few in the nation — to have an advanced endovascular surgical suite featuring the highly sophisticated Azurion with FlexArm imaging system. The new system by Philips promises to benefit patients with speedier, more precise care when facing complex cardiac and vascular conditions, according to hospital executives.

The system was designed following three years of research at Baptist Health’s Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute. “With FlexArm, Philips’ engineers have overcome near-impossible geometric and mechanical barriers,” said Barry T. Katzen, M.D., founder and chief medical executive of the Institute, where the first FlexArm in North America was installed. “We can get the optimal view of what’s going on inside the patient without encumbering all of the clinicians that are working around the table.”

Alternative Text
Barry T. Katzen, M.D., founder and
chief medical executive of Miami
Cardiac & Vascular Institute

The FlexArm rotates on eight different axes to create virtually unlimited imaging options from head to toe for both two- and three-dimensional visualizations. That flexibility, Dr. Katzen says, frees up medical teams to choose the best working position without the need to reposition the patient or adjust the operating table, important safety and time considerations. “It’s a significant advancement because it allows for unprecedented image quality from a wide variety of angles,” he says.

Image-guided therapy, in which treatment is performed through a small incision and guided by imaging technology, is increasingly replacing open surgery for the treatment of many diseases. Patients experience less trauma, doctors say, and, as a result, their hospital stay can be dramatically reduced. “They often return home after one night in the hospital, and may even leave the hospital on the same day,” says George Daniel, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at Bethesda Heart Hospital, which is located on the Bethesda Hospital East campus in Boynton Beach.

“This new suite is built to carry us into the future. It’s a major addition that expands our capacity to serve the needs of this community,” Dr. Daniel says. The new suite was designed with the flexibility to accommodate new equipment and technology as new procedures are developed, he adds, and will be used for more complex procedures such as transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR), mitral valve clip repairs, left atrial appendage occlusion surgeries and thoracic aneurysm repairs.

Nelson Lazo, CEO of Bethesda
Hospital East and Bethesda
Hospital West

The hybrid endovascular suite can seamlessly accommodate both minimally invasive procedures and traditional open surgery, according to Dr. Daniel, allowing clinicians to pivot in their surgical planning when necessary.

The new suite was made possible through philanthropic support from the Bethesda Hospital Foundation, which embraced the vision for new technology, according to Nelson Lazo, CEO of Bethesda Hospital East and Bethesda Hospital West. “Delivering truly outstanding care requires our clinical teams to be at the forefront of the latest developments in medicine,” he says. “Thanks to the Foundation – and to the community – for recognizing the essential role that technology like this plays in providing advanced cardiovascular care.”


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