Victors for Michigan campaign gains momentum with $7.5 million gift from Robert and Ann AikensANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A $7.5 million gift to the University of Michigan will advance research and discovery toward curing aortic disease, and support creation of a new hybrid operating room at the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131219/DC36009) With their gift, Robert and Ann Aikens, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., will propel an evolution in heart care. The latest advancements in cardiovascular treatment include hybrid procedures in which catheter-based interventions, simultaneous imaging and open chest surgeries are performed in the same operating room. The newest hybrid surgical suite, which is double the size of a regular OR, is the third for the U-M and merges the radiological and surgical techniques that make advanced hybrid procedures possible. "In order to offer this safe and more effective option, as well as attract industry partners, we must invest in facilities that provide flexible and complex operating space," says cardiologist Kim Eagle, M.D., a director of the Cardiovascular Center and the Albion Walter Hewlett Professor of Internal Medicine. "It is an essential component of any state-of-the-art cardiovascular center." The University of Michigan Health System will match support from the Aikens family for the capital project with preliminary plans for opening in 2015. Hybrid operating rooms enable the minimally invasive repair of heart valves and treatment of arrhythmias, aortic aneurysms and coronary arteries. Patients, especially the elderly, recover quicker from less invasive procedures. U-M interventional cardiologists, surgeons, radiologists and echocardiologists are national leaders in performing a transcatheter technique that opens the door to aortic valve replacement for patients who cannot tolerate open heart surgery. "The newest hybrid OR will serve as an anchoring element in our pursuit of the most innovative cardiovascular techniques," says interventional cardiologist Stanley J. Chetcuti, M.D., director of the U-M's cardiac catheterization labs and the Eric J. Topol Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine. "We are pursuing these innovations to bring cures closer to patients in a culture of collaboration and caring." "Technology is changing how we think about and treat health problems," says cardiac surgeon G. Michael Deeb, M.D., director of U-M's Multidisciplinary Aortic Clinic and the Herbert Sloan Collegiate Professor of Surgery at the U-M Medical School. "For example if we have a patient with a large aneurysm and cardiovascular disease, we would like to treat those problems simultaneously in order to decrease time on the heart-lung machine. In a hybrid operating room we can perform angioplasty and stent the lesion via transcatheter techniques and then proceed with the open surgery."