Cardiology News from Nashville
It's been an exciting few weeks for cardiac care in Middle Tennessee with major announcements coming from Saint Thomas Health and TriStar Centennial.
Saint Thomas Launches State's First Total Artificial Heart Program
On May 30, officials with Saint Thomas Health recently announced they had become the first health system in Tennessee to offer Total Artificial Heart (TAH) as part of their cardiac treatment services.
The technology was funded in part by the Speer Foundation and will be used by the cardiac experts of Saint Thomas Heart. Ashok N. Babu, MD, will serve as surgical director of the program, and Kyle Stribling, MD, will serve as medical director.
The TAH is a life-saving treatment option provided to individuals eligible for heart transplant surgery who have end-stage biventricular heart failure. The artificial heart replaces both lower chambers of the heart and the four heart valves and occupies the space of the removed heart. It is connected to an external driver, which pumps and monitors the TAH. For patients, the TAH increases chances of survival, allows an enhanced quality of life, including discharge home, and prepares those eligible for transplant by restoring blood flow and optimizing organ function.
"We are honored to be the first in Tennessee to integrate Total Artificial Heart into the comprehensive cardiac services offered by our cardiologists and heart surgeons at Saint Thomas Health," said Fahad Tahir, president and CEO of Saint Thomas Midtown and West Hospitals. "This technology continues a legacy of innovation, allowing us to save lives and improve the quality of life for individuals requiring highly specialized heart care. We are so appreciative of the Speer Foundation for supporting this important initiative."
Babu added, "The Total Artificial Heart technology gives individuals who are too ill to wait for a heart transplant a second chance at life. This device will allow patient mobility and a more active, higher quality of life for individuals waiting for a heart transplant who previously had no other options."
Saint Thomas Heart serves more than 5,000 advanced heart care patients each year in physician practices and hospitals throughout the region. The technology is provided through a partnership between Saint Thomas Health and SynCardia, the manufacturer of the world's only commercially approved Total Artificial Heart.
TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Implants First MEMO 4D, Launches LVAD Program,
Sreekumar Subramanian, MD
On June 1, TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center implanted the first MEMO 4D semi-rigid mitral annuloplasty ring in the world led by cardiovascular surgeon, Sreekumar Subramanian, MD. The implant now comes in larger ring sizes, allowing surgeons to treat a broader range of patients who suffer from mitral valve regurgitation, where the valve doesn't close properly causing the blood to flow backward within the heart.
"MEMO 4D simplifies and standardizes complex mitral valve repair, facilitates minimally invasive surgical approaches and preserves the mobility of the mitral valve leaflets," said Subramanian. "The new, larger sizes allow us to treat more patients and pathologies while providing the potential to further improve patient outcomes. With MEMO 4D, surgeons can optimize mitral repair procedures rather than replacing the entire mitral valve."
LivaNova, the medical device company that produces the larger MEMO 4D, is the only company to offer larger ring sizes which helps in the treatment of severe mitral regurgitation like Barlow's disease or enlarged annuli.
Also in June, TriStar Centennial Heart and Vascular Center announced the expansion of its advanced, comprehensive cardiovascular surgical treatment program to now include Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVAD), a life-saving surgical option for patients with severe heart failure who have exhausted all treatment options for their care.
Duc Nguyen, MD
The LVAD, which is implanted during open-heart surgery with one end attached to the left ventricle and the other end attached to the aorta to take blood from the left ventricle and carry it to the aorta, can be placed temporarily as a "bridge" to a heart transplant. It can also be used as destination" therapy - a permanent solution for patients who don't qualify or may not want a transplant.
"Left Ventricular Assist Devices have dramatically changed how we are able to help treat patients with severe heart failure," said Duc Nguyen, MD, who performed the first LVAD surgery at TriStar Centennial Heart and Vascular Center several weeks ago. "When a patient is facing a difficult diagnosis with few treatment options, we now have the ability to offer them a proven solution to assist their failing heart and a better quality of life."