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Grand Strand Regional Medical Center Among First with New Technology for Visualization of Gastroenterology Procedure

July 14, 2009

Almost half a million people in the U.S. undergo a procedure annually called an ERCP to diagnose problems in their liver, gallbladder and bile ducts. Zoltan Devenyi, MD, a gastroenterologist at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, is now using a new advanced ERCP technology to diagnose and treat conditions such as obstructions and gallstones within the biliary tract.

The technology, known as the SpyGlass® Direct Visualization System, includes a miniature 6,000 pixel fiber optic probe that provides the physician with a direct view of a patient’s bile ducts, overcoming some of the visual limitations of conventional ERCP procedures.

Grand Strand Regional Medical Center acquired the Spyglass technology in March 2008, and is one of three hospitals in South Carolina to have this new Spyglass technology.  Approximately 150 – 200 patients undergo an ERCP at Grand Strand Regional annually.
“The benefit of the SpyGlass procedure vs. the traditional ERCP is a quicker and more accurate diagnosis and treatment which reduces the need for additional testing and repeat procedures for the patient,” said Devenyi.

As part of the traditional ERCP procedure, physicians use an endoscope – a long, flexible, lighted tube that is inserted through a patient’s mouth and directed through the stomach into the first part of the small intestine – to view the entrance to the biliary system. X-rays may be taken of the biliary system; however, these X-rays are two-dimensional, black and white images that often do not provide enough information to obtain a complete diagnosis.

When bile duct growths or strictures are present, the physician needs to pass a small probe to obtain tissue samples for a biopsy.  Data shows that samplings performed with the traditional ERCP yield only about 35% diagnosticaccuracy.

Using the SpyGlass System, Dr. Devenyi has direct visualization of patients’ biliary system to improve diagnosis by helping to identify and differentiate between benign and malignant obstructions. A fiber optic probe attaches to a camera head and is inserted through a single-use catheter that can be steered in four directions. This is designed to allow the physician to access and inspect all four quadrants of the examination and treatment area. As a result, physicians are able to achieve an improved diagnosis for patients to approximately 90%.

“The Spyglass system also helps to break up large or very hard stones, which is not possible to treat with the traditional ERCP.  Previously, these patients were usually referred to MUSC in Charleston for treatment.  This advanced ERCP technology significantly improves patient care in our community,” said Devenyi.

Risk factors for developing gallstones include obesity, genetics, a high fat diet and being female.

For more information, call Grand Strand Regional Medical Center at 692-1052.