Published on April 22, 2010

World-Renowned Heart Experts Share Innovative Treatments for Cardiovascular Disease

Innovations 2010 Presentations Include Inducing Hypothermia in Heart Attack Patients and Other Cutting-Edge Procedures

Bethesda, Md. - World-renowned experts in cardiology, interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery and vascular medicine gathered today to discuss the latest advances in the treatment of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions at the 7th Annual Innovations Cardiac and Vascular Symposium, hosted by Washington Adventist Hospital and its Center for Cardiac and Vascular Research.

The clinical educational program, attended by doctors and nurses from across the country, included topics such as inducing therapeutic hypothermia or body cooling in cardiac arrest patients, optimal use of cardiovascular drugs and devices and featured a broadcast of cutting-edge procedures performed live from Washington Adventist Hospital.

Inducing Therapeutic Hypothermia in Cardiac Arrest Patients

Induced therapeutic hypothermia is a process in which doctors reduce a patient's body temperature to 33º C in order to protect critical body functions during a medical emergency. This technique is now being used for cardiac arrest patients in the U.S. and is currently performed at Washington Adventist Hospital.

During Innovations 2010, Michael R. Mooney, MD, FACC, FSCAI, Director of Interventional Cardiology at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis spoke about the ‘Cool It' program he leads and how inducing a mild state of hypothermia following a severe heart attack can help patients avoid or lessen brain and heart damage.

"We continue to analyze the results and shape the ‘Cool It' protocol so we are providing the best care to cardiac arrest patients to improve their chances of survival and quality of life," said Mooney.

New Treatments for Heart Valve Patients

A paravalvular leak is a small opening between the upper and lower chambers of the heart around the outside of a surgically-implanted heart valve. These leaks are rare but are a serious complication of valve replacement. Patients with severe leakage usually have symptoms of heart failure or severe anemia.

During Innovations, Mark Turco, MD, FACC, FSCAI, Director for the Center of Cardiac and Vascular Research at Washington Adventist Hospital and program director of Innovations, demonstrated a minimally-invasive repair of a leaking prosthetic heart valve also know as a percutaneous paravalvular leak repair using the latest in 3D imaging to help guide the way. During the procedure, Turco inserted a catheter from a small incision in the patient's groin and up into the heart, where a small device called a duct occluder was deployed, like an umbrella, to close the leak.

"The Live 3D transesophageal echo (TEE) imaging in our Cath Lab helped me guide the movement and placement of the device with a higher degree of precision than was ever available before to accurately close the leak," said Turco. This cutting-edge intervention is an alternative to open surgery.

Paul Massimiano, MD, president of Cardiac Vascular & Thoracic Surgery Associates showcased a minimally-invasive mitral valve repair under direct visualization. Using the minimally invasive approach, a small two-inch incision is made unlike the open chest incision typically used in heart surgery. To make the repair, Dr. Massimiano implanted a specialized ring and artificial Gortex chords which reconfigure the valve to its normal anatomy. Both advancements - in technique and use of the latest devices - minimize the trauma to the patient and lead to excellent long-term outcomes for patients with mitral valve disease. A small incision also leads to quicker recovery allowing a patient to return home sooner - in this case, the day after surgery.

"Washington Adventist Hospital has long been an innovator in cardiac care and I am pleased to be a first time participant in today's program," said Massimiano.

Radial Artery Access for Cardiac Stenting

Stenting is a procedure used to open clogged blood vessels in heart attack patients. Stents are typically deployed through a catheter inserted into a patient's femoral artery in the groin. However, advanced programs across the country are now using a new technique that involves insertion of the catheter through the patient's wrist.

This year's Innovations featured a demonstration in which David Brill, MD, FACC, Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at Washington Adventist Hospital used a radial (wrist) approach for a complex coronary intervention. This approach allows a patient to be up and walking almost immediately after the procedure.

"Ten years ago, we couldn't have done this. The equipment is now very sophisticated and perfectly designed for radial catheterization and intervention," said Dr. Brill. "This is an incredible advance. The patient is much more comfortable and there is minimal chance of bleeding complications."

Complex Carotid Stenting

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of disability among adults. Results of a recent clinical trial, CREST, which Washington Adventist Hospital participated in, found that stenting - a less invasive approach - is as safe and effective as surgery in preventing strokes caused by a buildup of plaque in neck arteries. The stenting approach was demonstrated during Innovations by Dr. Fayaz Shawl, MD, FACC, Director of Interventional Cardiology and Innovations co-director.

"Before CREST, we really did not have the best evidence, but now the results indicate that we have two very safe and effective methods to prevent stroke," said Shawl.

The day-long Innovations program also included a talk on the future of cardiac and vascular stents. Innovations kicked off on Thursday with a dinner program discussion of heart rhythm management and heart disease in women.

"Washington Adventist Hospital is proud to host this program which brings together world-renowned clinicians and researchers to share the latest advances in cardiovascular medicine with the goal of improving and, ultimately, saving the lives of patients," explained Joyce Portela, Senior Executive Officer for the hospital. "For more than 40 years, Washington Adventist Hospital has been a leader in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and research."

Washington Adventist Hospital is a 288-bed acute-care facility located in Takoma Park, Maryland. Washington Adventist Hospital is Montgomery County's first cardiac center, performing more than 500 open-heart surgeries and more than 6,000 heart catheterizations each year. The Hospital is the first accredited Cycle III Chest Pain Center in the DC Metro Area. Washington Adventist Hospital is part of Adventist HealthCare, an integrated health-care delivery system based in Rockville, Maryland, that is one of the largest employers in the state of Maryland.