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Each year, the lives of thousands of people across the country are saved because someone made the choice to become an organ donor. In April, Allegheny Health Network is honored to celebrate National Donate Life Month and pay tribute to all of those who have bestowed the precious gift of life to another through organ donation. Visit AHNdonate.org to learn more and register to be an organ donor.



Format: 04/24/2014
Format: 04/24/2014


Allegheny General Hospital Opens Center for Perioperative Medicine

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) is launching a new Center for Perioperative Medicine to provide specialized care for patients preparing for elective surgeries.

Embraced by leading medical centers, perioperative consultation is an evidence-based practice that yields improved patient outcomes, according to Marc Itskowitz, MD, an AGH internal medicine physician and co-director of the Center for Perioperative Medicine.

“Patients who undergo a perioperative assessment are likely to achieve optimal management of chronic conditions prior to surgery and develop fewer complications from surgery or anesthesia,” Dr. Itskowitz said.

Specifically, patients who have undergone a perioperative assessment tend to experience decreased blood loss and reduced risk of infection, cardiovascular complications and development of blood clots or pulmonary embolism.

“We can help patients who are anticipating surgery prepare for the most favorable outcome by ensuring that they are in optimal health prior to surgery,” said AGH internist Scott Vargo, MD, who co-directs the Center for Perioperative Medicine with Dr. Itskowitz.

The perioperative team will review each patient’s medical history, perform a complete physical exam and coordinate electrocardiograms, chest X-rays, blood work and all required pre-operative medical testing into one convenient appointment and interpret the results on the same day.

Funded by a $300,000 three-year grant from the Institute of Transfusion Medicine’s Blood Science Foundation, the perioperative center will be part of an ongoing effort to improve blood management in hospital settings and reduce the need for blood transfusions during and after surgeries.

“Allegheny General is ideally positioned for such an initiative as home to one of the nation’s leading bloodless medicine programs,” said Rita Schwab, program director of the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at AGH.

Since 1998, AGH’s bloodless medicine program has provided advanced health care for patients who request treatment without the use of blood or blood products. Offering highly complex surgical capabilities, such as organ transplantation, brain, vascular, gynecological, cardiac, orthopaedic and gastrointestinal surgery, without the necessity of transfusion, AGH’s bloodless medicine program has successfully treated thousands of patients from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and beyond.

Along with providing medical clearance for surgery, physicians from the Center for Perioperative Medicine will counsel patients regarding the use of medications before and immediately after surgery and manage follow-up care in the hospital for patients with unique risk factors and special needs.

Under the leadership of Drs. Itskowitz and Vargo, the Center will be staffed by a group of internal medicine physicians housed in AGH’s Federal Street Building, located two blocks from the hospital on Pittsburgh’s North Side.

For more information on the AGH Center for Perioperative Medicine, call 412.359.3682.





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