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    Arkansas Heart Hospital ranks 1st among US hospitals to offer aortic valve replacement without open heart surgery

    3:09 PM, Dec 29, 2011   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Arkansas Heart Hospital and Interventional Cardiologists Dr. David Mego and Dr. William Rollefson became the first in this region of the United States to implant the SAPIEN transcatheter aortic heart valve as an FDA-approved standard of care.

    The implants on December 20 were the fifth and sixth in the United States since FDA approval. Device approval was based on results from the PARTNER trial, which showed that transcatheter aortic valve implantation improved survival and quality of life compared with standard therapy in non-operative patients with severely diseased aortic valves. The Partner study demonstrated dramatic mortality benefits at 1 and 2 years versus medical therapy.

    "Approval of the SAPIEN transcatheter aortic heart valve is a monumental event on par with FDA approval of the bare metal stent in 1994. For patients too sick for open-heart surgery, this new treatment is the difference between life and death," says Dr. Bruce Murphy, President and CEO of Arkansas Heart Hospital. "It is a huge honor for our team to perform the first two procedures in this region of the United States as an FDA-approved preferred treatment."

    The expanded team of physicians trained and participating in the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program includes cardiologists Dr. David Mego, Dr. William Rollefson, Dr. Michael Huber and cardiovascular surgeons Dr. Michael Nolen and Dr. Charles Watkins. Erin Barry Powell, BSN, RN serves as nurse coordinator. The success of this program requires input from both cardiology and surgery to determine candidates and the best course of treatment," says Dr. Murphy.

    Dr. Mego's and Dr. Rollefson's patients were turned down for traditional open heart surgery and had no other viable treatment options. Both patients were discharged from Arkansas Heart Hospital 2 days after their procedure in excellent condition.

    This new way to perform heart valve replacement enables the placement of a collapsible aortic heart valve into the body via a catheter that is inserted through the leg, and threaded up to the heart. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement is approved at this time for people with life threatening aortic valve disease who are not surgical candidates, according to Dr. David Mego.

    "TAVR represents a major advance for inoperable patients," Mego adds. "Patients who would have otherwise had no surgical options now have a way to cure their valve disease."

    Mego explains that TAVR patients require no open surgery, but rather a leg incision through which a catheter is passed. Patients do not require the use of a bypass machine and recovery is typically one to three days in the hospital.

    Treatment of Aortic Stenosis

    Aortic valves, which regulate blood flow from the heart into the aorta, are susceptible to stenosis (failure to open) and insufficiency (blood to flow in the wrong direction, back into the heart). Critical aortic stenosis results in a death rate of approximately 50 percent in the first two to three years after diagnosis without surgical intervention. Approximately 300,000 Americans suffer from severe aortic stenosis. At least 30 percent of these patients do not undergo surgery for replacement of the aortic valve because of advanced age, heart failure, or the presence of multiple coexisting conditions.

    About Arkansas Heart Hospital

    Arkansas Heart Hospital is a nationally recognized and multi award-winning hospital dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It offers advanced technology teamed with a highly trained support staff and Arkansas' leading cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons. The hospital operates six catheterization labs, three heart operating suites and a 24-hour Heart Emergency Center.

    Patients interested in learning more about the TAVR procedure can call Erin Barry Powell, the Arkansas Heart Hospital TAVR nurse coordinator, at 501-978-3707.

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