TAVR Treatment Offering Hope To Aortic Stenosis Patients

Needing a heart valve replacement used to mean open heart surgery, but now doctors are doing it in a much less invasive way.

“We call him Superman. He’s always been our Superman. We truly thought we were losing him,” says John Lieberman’s daughter, Amy.

He had a problem with one of his heart valves — a problem that nearly cost this Superman his life.

“I was sort like out of breath at times, if I went up the steps, and I would stop half way, or a third of the way, and then continue on,” he says.

Aortic stenosis happens when the aortic valve, becomes calcified, stiff and tight. The heart has to work harder to pump blood out to the body, and the heart gets weaker, leading to fatigue, shortness of breath and swelling in the legs.

Without any intervention, death is the usual outcome.

Typically, doctors would do surgery to fix the issue — take out the old valve, and sew in a new one — not a matter to take lightly.

“Once you start operating on people that are elderly, especially around the aortic valve, you “increase the risk of infections and stroke,” says Dr. Andy Kiser, a cardiac surgeon at St. Clair Hospital.

Doctors came up with a new way, called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement — or TAVR.

With thin tubes and wires, they go through the blood vessels to get a new valve up to the heart.

“This way, the new way, the transcatheter valve way, we don’t take the valve out at all. We just actually blow a balloon up, that pushes the old valve out of the way, and it wedges the new valve in, and starts working immediately,” Dr. Kiser explains.

At first, this technique was reserved as a last resort, and for high risk patients with lots of other health conditions that would make surgery risky. The outcome in those patients was so good, the Food and Drug Administration recently approved its use in low risk patients.

“Surprisingly, the low risk outcomes are as good as, and and in some situations, even better than surgery in some patients, at least at a year,” Dr. Kiser continues.

“The recovery time is amazing. Patients go home the next day, or two days, and they’re back on their feet right away,” says Allegheny Health Network cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Scott Halbriener.

The device is made with a metal ring and cow heart valve leaflets. No one knows how long this valve will last, but best guess is 15 years, based on similarly constructed valves. So for younger patients, this would not be a good option.

Also, because of how it goes in, there’s a small chance of needing a pacemaker afterwards.

“Less than 1% risk of dying from the procedure,” says Dr. Halbriener.

While the TAVR valve costs $11,000 more than a standard valve, the savings in operating room and hospital costs makes the two approaches economically comparable. But for patients, the decreased recovery time is priceless.

“We were walking the streets, doing the exercises he was supposed to be doing, walking the streets that next day. It was amazing, truly,” says Amy.

“They have to be some of the most grateful patients that I think we see,” says Dr. Halbriener.


By Dr. Maria Simbra – Reporter, KDKA

Link:  https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/09/26/less-invasive-treatment-offering-hope-to-aortic-stenosis-patients/

Mayo Clinic, St. Clair Hospital Hail Partnership

Mayo Clinic and St. Clair Hospital officials say they’re happy with the partnership from both ends of its clinical relationship.

The Mt. Lebanon hospital struck a collaboration with the Mayo Clinic in 2016, allowing among other things St. Clair Hospital the ability to be connected with Mayo Clinic specialists for diagnosis, treatment or clinical management of complex diseases. It’s one of only about 40 such relationships Mayo has with other hospitals. Both sides said it’s working well.

Dr. Henry H. Ting, a professor of medicine and chief value officer of the Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic, and Dr. David L. Hayes, medical director, provider relations-international, recently visited St. Clair Hospital and spoke with the hospital’s staff and presented a talk on value-based care.

Ting and Hayes spoke to St. Clair staff about the importance of institutional excellence and a strong culture at the Mayo Clinic. Hayes, who visits potential as well as existing partners, said a laser-focus on culture and quality are among the key attributes of successful partners.

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St. Clair Hospital Named A ‘Most Wired’ Hospital

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – St. Clair Hospital has been named a Level 8 Most Wired hospital in the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives’ (CHIME) 2019 Most Wired Survey. A Level 8 designation highlights hospitals that have deployed technologies and strategies (e.g., population health/cost-of-care analytics, HIEs/integration engines, and patient portals) to help them analyze their data and are achieving meaningful clinical and efficiency outcomes.

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St. Clair Hospital’s Dr. Florez weighs in on Roethlisberger Injury

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When a local doctor saw a replay of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s elbow injury, he immediately knew it would be serious.

As someone who treats elbow injuries daily, it wasn’t hard for Dr. Gerson Florez at St. Clair Hospital to realize Roethlisberger suffered a serious injury after he saw the Steelers quarterback holding and shaking his elbow in Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.

The question is: which side of the elbow? Was it on the outside or on the inside?

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St. Clair Hospital expansion gets $1 million gift from Richard King Mellon Foundation

The St. Clair Hospital Foundation has received a $1 million donation from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to help build a state-of-the-art outpatient center for the hospital’s main campus in Mt. Lebanon.

The money is earmarked for what will be called the Dunlap Family Outpatient Center.

The donation brings to $28 million the total in grants and private gifts toward the $142 million project. The development, largest in the hospital’s history, is intended to meet growing patient demand and adapt to trends in health care nationally, officials said Friday in announcing the gift.

Construction is underway, and planners hope to open the outpatient building in late 2020.

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Foundation gives $1M to help build St. Clair Hospital new outpatient center

The six-floor outpatient center that is being built at St. Clair Hospital is getting a $1 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

The grant will help build the $142 million Dunlap Family Outpatient Center, which will include preop and postop suites, diagnostics and physician offices, and will be connected on two floors to St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon. The award-winning independent hospital, with 2,300 employees, is meeting patient demand with the new center.

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Groundbreaking Medical Announcement on Transcatheter Aortic-Valve Replacement Made at St. Clair Hospital Heart Team Summit

MT. LEBANON, Pa.  (August 16, 2019) – Lead author of a groundbreaking study on Transcatheter Aortic Valve-Replacement (TAVR), Michael Mack, M.D., Medical Director of Cardiovascular Surgery at Baylor Health Care System, announced today FDA approval of TAVR for low risk patients at St. Clair Hospital’s Heart Team Summit.

This announcement expands the availability of TAVR for all patients with aortic stenosis, not just those who are at high-risk.

TAVR is offered at St. Clair Hospital by Andy Kiser, M.D., and Ryan Zuzek, M.D.

About St. Clair Hospital

St. Clair Hospital is a nationally recognized integrated health system with more than 2,500 employees and 600 physicians serving 500,000 residents of southwestern Pennsylvania. In 2016, it became a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. As the region’s largest independent hospital, St. Clair participates with all major insurers.

St. Clair Hospital Receives Its 14th Consecutive ‘A’ for Patient Safety in Spring 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

MT. LEBANON, Pa.  (May 15, 2019) – The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care ratings organization, today released new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades for Spring 2019, awarding St. Clair Hospital an “A” for its commitment to keeping patients safe and meeting the highest safety standards in the U.S.  St. Clair Hospital’s A grade is the Hospital’s 14th consecutive A, placing St. Clair amongst the top hospitals in the country for patient safety.  The Safety Grade assigns letter grades of A, B, C, D and F to hospitals nationwide based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms.  

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New Procedure Offering Hope to Afib Patients

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Kathryn Reveille had an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, or Afib.

“I had palpitations. Really, really strong palpitations that were disabling,” she said.

She tried medications, and endured eight shocks to the heart. Nothing worked to keep it in a normal rhythm.

Her heart wasn’t beating effectively. She couldn’t walk without it racing. She had trouble breathing.

“My hospitalizations became more frequent. The stays were longer. One was 23 days,” she said

With Afib, instead of just one area, multiple areas in the top chamber tell the heart to beat. With so many signals, the bottom chambers beat irregularly.

“Our goal is to help them feel better. Our goal is to help prevent a stroke,” St. Clair Hospital heart surgeon Dr. Andy Kiser said.

Ten years ago, Kiser invented a procedure to control Afib, particularly for people who have been in the rhythm for a long time.

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St. Clair Hospital Receives Second Prestigious National Award In A Week

Latest Award Is 100 Top Hospitals®  Designation For 2019

Marks Fourth Time Since 2012

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (March 4, 2019) ― Hard on the heels of a 5-star quality rating from the Centers for

Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), St. Clair Hospital today was named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® for 2019. This marks the second consecutive year and fourth time since 2012 that St. Clair has won this prestigious honor.

The 100 Top Hospitals award is the culmination of an annual study by IBM Watson Health that identifies top performing hospitals in the country based on overall organizational performance. Formerly known as the Truven Health Analytics 100 Top Hospitals, this study spotlights the best-performing hospitals in the U.S. based on a balanced scorecard of publicly available clinical, operational, and patient satisfaction metrics and data. To conduct the 100 Top Hospitals study, IBM Watson Health researchers evaluated short-term, acute care, non-federal U.S. Hospitals. Hospitals do not apply or pay for this honor, and all acute care hospitals in the United States are evaluated for potential inclusion. The study has been conducted annually since 1993.

The 100 Top Hospitals  showed the most significant outperformance versus non-winning peer group hospitals within clinical and operational performance benchmarks evaluated in the study.

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