Friday, January 27, 2012 1:59 PM

New test for patients at Fresno Heart & Surgical

It’s not common knowledge, but when it comes to surgery, knowing your blood volume could be critical. Until recently there hasn’t been a quick or easy way to measure blood volumes right before surgery.

Dr. Shamsuddin Khwaja, cardiothoracic surgeon, performs surgery at Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital.

Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital now has leading-edge technology that does exactly that – in about an hour. The hospital is the first in the region and only one of approximately 60 hospitals in the nation to use a new blood volume analysis device, called the BVA-100.

According to Dr. Joseph Feldschuh, president, CEO and chief scientific officer who helped design the instrumentation for Daxor Corporation’s BVA-100, the technology accurately and easily makes the measurement, adding a higher level of safety for patients going into surgery.

Blood volume analysis isn’t new – in fact it’s been used for 50 years – but it was time consuming, difficult to perform, and often inaccurate.

“If a patient has surgery, physicians only have the crudest estimate of blood loss at the end of that surgery … One of the first signs of trouble after surgery is when a patient’s blood pressure drops,” Dr. Feldschuh said. “This [a blood volume analysis] eliminates the guess work and helps define the nature of the problem.”

One of Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital’s affiliated physicians, Cardiothoracic Surgeon Shamsuddin Khwaja, says, “BVA allows physicians to determine an accurate status on heart failure patients.” Even in an emergency situation, the test can be performed to help the physician determine what he or she is dealing with.

The BVA-100 is the first semi-automated instrument of its type to receive clearance from the FDA to perform blood volume measurement, according to the Daxor website. It provides quantitative diagnostic information for use in a variety of medical situations where accurate knowledge of blood volume is essential.

For a higher level of care, this device might be used with a patient on diuretic drugs or someone with hypertension. Patients with congestive heart failure or those who have heavy blood loss during surgery would benefit. Women, in particular, may benefit from the use of the BVA-100 because they have a greater risk of entering surgery in an anemic state, or of needing a blood transfusion during or after surgery.

There are many reasons a patient should have a blood volume analysis, but the greatest is safety and a higher quality of care.

“We are always on the leading-edge of treatment and technology at Fresno Heart & Surgical,” said Shelly Bressoud, coordinator, Cardiac Evaluation Center at Fresno Heart & Surgical.

Tony Urrutia, coordinator of the Imaging Department at Fresno Heart & Surgical added, “This is just one more layer of high quality we can add for our patients.”

Fresno Heart & Surgical has received top 5-star ratings in bariatric and vascular carotid surgery from HealthGrades® for the past three and four years, respectively. The hospital has also earned HeatlhGrades Outstanding Patient Experience award for the past four years, putting it among the nation’s top five percent for patient satisfaction.

Mary Lisa Russell reported this story. She can be reached at