ANCHORAGE -

The Alaska Native Medical Center has a brand new, hybrid operating room.

The hospital is the state's highest-level trauma center and the new addition -- part operating room, part angiography suite -- provides state-of-the-art technology in how the trauma department can treat patients.

"For some very specialized procedures and some very seriously injured patients, occasionally, the best place for them is a place where you need both things," said Dr. Frank Sacco, chief of general surgery and trauma director at ANMC.

He said the leading cause of death for Alaskans under the age of 44, is death by injury. Many trauma cases end up at ANMC regardless of whether or not a patient is Alaska Native.

A special X-ray system in the operating room operates by using a lower dose of radiation. It allows doctors and nurses to use medical imaging to look at blood vessels and other areas inside the body. The machine is mounted to the ceiling and can move 360 degrees around a patient on the table, taking rapid X-rays and images while using a lower dose of radiation.

"When you bring in a patient and there's a lot of folks around that patient you need to be able to move equipment out of the way but then also move it back in very quickly," said Laura Mullin, surgical services nursing director.

She adds the advanced technology allows for more minimally invasive techniques to treat Alaskans. Patients who require cardiology procedures will now be able to have those performed at ANMC, instead of Alaska Regional Hospital or Providence Alaska Medical Center.

"This will certainly make it more convenient for the patients who prefer to stay at ANMC when possible," said Dr. Matt Schnellbaecher, the center's head of cardiology.

The new OR is directly above the emergency department, which now makes ANMC the hospital with the quickest route from the ER to the OR-- only two to three minutes, said Mullin.

The new area was being sanitized on Tuesday in order to be ready to put to use on Wednesday.