Heart Specialists at Community Hospital, Munster, perform Northwest Indiana’s first minimally-invasive Mitral Valve Repair

Heart Specialists at Community Hospital, Munster, perform  Northwest Indiana’s first minimally-invasive Mitral Valve Repair

Community Hospital, Munster’s cardiac team successfully performed the first Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair (TMVr) in Northwest Indiana on Thursday, August 13. The less invasive technique gives new hope to patients who suffer from severe heart disease, but who are not ideal candidates for a complex open heart surgery.

“The hospitals of Community Healthcare System have a well-established history of providing excellence in cardiac care from routine screenings to complex treatments,” said Samer Abbas, MD, medical director of cardiovascular services at Community Hospital and the Structural Heart program of Community Healthcare System. “That is why we are uniquely positioned to spearhead programs such as TMVr that benefit the entire Northwest Indiana community.”

TMVr is a less invasive approach to open heart surgery that does not require the patient to be placed on a heart-lung machine. Instead under sedation, a catheter is inserted into the groin area and threaded through a vein to the heart to gain access to the left sided heart chambers and enable repair of the mitral valve.

The MitraClip™ device is a small metal clip covered with a polyester fabric that is implanted on the mitral valve. The device treats mitral regurgitation by fastening together a small area of the mitral valve’s flaps. During the procedure, the valve continues to open and close on either side of the clip. This allows blood to flow on both sides of the clip while reducing the flow of blood in the wrong direction. Once the MitraClip is advanced into position using a guidewire, set into place below the regurgitating valve and the clip arms opened, the guidewire and delivery system are removed from the heart chamber.

Traditional valve replacement requires a complex open heart procedure with a “sternotomy” that surgically opens the chest during the procedure. TMVr, in contrast, is performed through a small needle stick through the groin vein that leaves the chest intact.

TMVr is a minimally invasive procedure that may be an option for patients with primary (or degenerative) mitral regurgitation who are too sick for surgery. It is also an option for patients with heart failure and secondary (or functional) mitral regurgitation who have not responded to treatment.  

The TMVr procedure was successfully performed in a specially equipped surgical suite called a hybrid OR. The state-of-the-art hybrid OR at Community Hospital combines large, high-quality interventional imaging systems with complex open and minimally-invasive surgeries.

With advanced video integration technology, surgeons and anesthesiologists can view multiple forms of information simultaneously, including blood pressures inside the body, radiology images as well as patient vital signs and images taken prior to surgery.

The hybrid OR allows physicians to perform increasingly complex procedures such as TMVr that utilize real-time image guidance and continual medical assessment simultaneously.

The Structural Heart & Valve Center team of Community Healthcare System is dedicated to providing patients with access to the most advanced treatments for structural heart and valve diseases. Community Healthcare System’s Mitral Valve Repair team of specialists includes Samer Abbas, MD; Michael Eng, MD, chief of cardiothoracic surgery, Community Healthcare System; Omar Husseini, MD, director of echocardiography, Community Hospital; Jessica Kiszka, structural heart/valve nurse practitioner and Jill Conner, administrative director, Structural Heart Services, Community Healthcare System. 

“Community Hospital has a long-standing commitment to providing the most advanced medical facilities and highly-talented medical staff,” said Lou Molina, CEO of Community Hospital. “This is one of the many reasons Community Hospital is uniquely positioned to provide programs such as TMVr that benefit our patients and our entire Northwest Indiana community.”

The Structural Heart & Valve Center at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System is among an elite few in Indiana to offer patients MitraClip for mitral valve repair, Watchman for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation, balloon valvuloplasty for both aortic and mitral valve stenosis and TAVR. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the team determines the most effective treatment options and shares best practices to ensure patients receive the most comprehensive care available close to home.

For more information on the Structural Heart & Valve Center, call 219-703-5301 or visit COMHS.org.