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Heart Specialists at Community Hospital, Munster Perform Northwest Indiana’s First Minimally-invasive Heart Valve Replacement Procedure

By: Community Healthcare System Last Updated: January 13, 2017

chs-stockCardiac specialists and cardiothoracic surgeons at Community Hospital in Munster Wed., Jan. 11, successfully performed the first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures in Northwest Indiana. The less invasive technique gives hope to patients who suffer from severe heart disease, but who are not ideal candidates for a complex open heart surgery.

The TAVR team includes Structural Interventional Cardiologist Hussam Suradi, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgeons Amjad Syed, MD, Christopher Stone, MD, and Cris Carlos, MD, and Interventional Cardiologist Samer Abbas, MD.

“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 TAVR that benefit our patients and our entire Northwest Indiana community.”

TAVR is a less invasive approach to open heart surgery that does not require the patient to be placed on a bypass machine to breathe. Instead under sedation, a catheter is inserted either into the chest or the groin area and threaded through an artery to the heart to deliver the replacement valve. The original damaged aortic valve is left in place. Once the new valve is set in position and expanded, it pushes the original valve leaflets out of the way and the tissue in the replacement valve takes over the job of regulating blood flow.

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

TAVR is considered an effective option to improve quality of life for many patients who are unable to tolerate a lengthy open heart surgery. This procedure is approved by the FDA for those with symptoms of aortic stenosis, who are considered intermediate or high risk with other medical conditions, for standard valve replacement surgery.

Left untreated, aortic stenosis may be life-threatening. Aortic stenosis occurs when the heart's aortic valve narrows, hampering normal blood flow. It is most often caused by age-related calcification, but can be caused by a birth defect, rheumatic fever or radiation therapy. Usually when aortic valve stenosis becomes severe and symptomatic, the heart valve should be replaced.

The TAVR procedure was successfully performed on two patients Wednesday, January 11, 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.

“These rooms are designed to allow for flexibility of equipment placement, ease of use and accessibility for surgeons and staff,” says John Olmstead, director of surgical services.

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. Previously, this information was accessed and viewed from a single monitor.

The hybrid OR allows physicians to perform increasingly complex procedures, such as TAVR, 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. This center is led by doctors Suradi & Syed. Suradi is Northwest Indiana’s only fellowship-trained Structural Interventional Cardiologist and Syed is Northwest Indiana’s only Cardiovascular Surgeon trained in Structural Heart disease. With this expertise, the Structural Heart & Valve Center 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.

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