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Product News
Going to Lengths to Get the Right Stretcher Table
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Publish Date: October 10, 2007   |  Tags:   Product News

In these days of multi-tasking by sub-specialized experts, surgical centers need medical equipment and devices that are versatile enough to accommodate several types of procedures. This is certainly the case with stretcher tables, which have to perform multiple capabilities during the preparation period, through surgery and then in the PACU. It's a lot to ask of one device, so a lot has to go into your decision about which stretcher table will work for your facility.

Stretcher tables serve to both transport patients and provide the surface for surgery. This duality of function enhances the experience for both the caregiver and the care-receiver: It streamlines the workflow for the OR staff and reduces how many times the patient has to be lifted from one surface to another. This cuts down on how much equipment your facility needs, which in turn saves money and space. But to realize this benefit, it's important to consider the nuances of your facility and its patients.

Penny-wise and pound-wiser
When you're planning to buy a procedural stretcher, you have to look beyond the upfront cost at some of the other numbers. One of the first things you should probably consider is weight capacity. Obese patients are becoming a more common challenge for many facilities, so you may need a table that can support and transport patients who are far above the average height and weight.

The next step is to think about how maneuverable the table is while it's carrying a patient. Transportation should be a job for one staff member, so when you're evaluating the sales pamphlet or putting your hands on a sample table be sure to look for how well-designed it is for easy mobility. This has become such a hot issue that some of the newer tables are self-propelled. Depending on your facility's demographics and travel path, this might be a good idea. And although your staffers may be pushing the table over a short distance, remember that the elevation and flooring of this travel path can affect how easy or hard it is to travel this route.

If your facility has a good proportion of larger patients or elderly patients, be sure to look carefully at the table's ability to rise and lower. The low positions can be a huge help when moving patients on and off of these tables, while how high the highest position should be depends on your surgical specialties. At the same time the configuration of the table base's frame can make it easy to position a mobile patient lift under the table for further patient assistance. To find out how effective the table will be in the OR, take a close look at its base and think about how compatible it will be with the other equipment, such as patient lifts, over-bed tables and five-star stands for IV's and pumps.

Now that you've thought about the bottom of the table, it's time to think about the top. Here, the material as well as the detail of the construction is very important. That stretcher will be used in the surgical environment, which means it's going to have to be completely cleaned, so look for little details such as cracks, creases and joints that could make this difficult. Although you should minimize these, don't do it at the expense of how well it can position your patients for the procedure or how reliable the mechanics are. The surface should also be comfortable, especially if the patient is going to be on it for two hours or longer. Finally, if you'll use the table for procedures that involve imaging, a radiolucent tabletop is critical, so investigate the options.

A table for all seasons
As I said earlier, surgical tables have to fill many functions these days. That's why deciding how versatile a table is, at least in part, is seeing how well it can accept multiple accessories. Take a look at the available components before you make the purchase to be sure you're getting something that can be added to as your facility's needs evolve. And while thinking about the future, ask the table's manufacturer or vendor if it will be able to service the stretcher for the projected lifetime.

Finally, though not necessarily last in importance, are the basics of any equipment purchase:

  • Is the product proven in an environment similar to how you will use it?
  • Is the product made of quality materials that will stand up to the use and abuse it will receive from staff and patients?
  • Is the stretcher priced competitively and at a value to our organization?
  • Is the warranty comparable to industry standards?
  • Has the provider committed to partnering long-term, or at least for the life of the product?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, reconsider the decision and purchase.

Alphamaquet 1150
(888) MAQUET3
Price: Not disclosed
FYI: The AlphaMaquet is a universal tabletop that offers virtually unlimited positioning, letting the surgeon lay the patient flat or sit the patient upright, says the company. Whatever the position, it can support up to 800 pounds of weight plus 44 pounds of accessories when it is set into the operating table column. Like the tabletop, the accessories available from the manufacturer are radiolucent so they won't interfere with imaging, says the company.

Operon D 850 Surgical Table
(800) 469-6100
Price: $68,000 for the retail InstaDrive version; $65,000 for the non-InstaDrive version.
FYI: The Operon D 850 features 1,000-pound lift and articulation through the full range of motion for nearly every
surgical procedure, says the company. The hand pendant features a backlit, easy-to-read keypad so surgeons can make adjustments even in low-light ORs. This table also has a carbon fiber tabletop to make imaging clearer while comfortably supporting the patient.

Pedigo Products
750 Patient Transport Stretcher
(800) 822-3501
Price: $3,000 to $5,000, depending on options
FYI: Named for its weight capacity in pounds, the model 750 Patient Transport Stretcher features a full stainless steel side rail system with integrated push-pull handles. It comes with a quick-release oxygen tank holder to make replacing or loading O2 tanks easy and brake-and-steer foot pedals on all four corners to give staffers control while moving patients, says the company. The table also has a pneumatic assist fowler to allow for patients to be raised and lowered safely.

Stryker Medical
Trio Mobile Surgery Platform
(800) 869-0770
Price: $17,000
FYI: The Trio platform is designed for use in all three stages of surgery - pre-op, procedure and post-op. This gives patients a sense of security as they're on the same comfortable surface for the entire process, says the manufacturer. The table can be set in all positions commonly used in ambulatory surgery to maximize physician throughput, adds Stryker.

Hausted SurgiStretcher
(440) 354-2600
Price: $9,072
FYI: The manufacturer says that the Hausted line of surgical stretchers is designed to support patients from pre-induction to transport to the procedure to the PACU, which helps to streamline patient handling. This table has an articulating headpiece to allow for microscopic and infinite adjustments and a low profile to accommodate ophthalmic, ENT and plastic surgery procedures, adds Steris.

TransMotion Medical
Model TMM5XT Surgi-Chair II
(866) 860-8447
Price: $7,000 to $12,000
FYI: The stretcher chairs from TransMotion are designed to suit many of the same uses as a table. According to the manufacturer, the Model TMM5XT Surgi-Chair II Series features advanced motorized patient positioning capabilities to allow for multiple procedures. This is designed to reduce manual lifting and handling as well as transfers, making procedures safer for patients and healthcare workers.

(888) 783-7891
Price: Base $12,290
FYI: The 600XLE mobile surgery table converts from a transportation chair to a surgical table smoothly, says the company. It is powered by pollution-free rechargeable batteries to operate cordlessly for up to 40 procedures. The casters can also be directionally locked to let one person steer the chair easily during long routes.