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Since its beginning in 1981, NMMC's heart program has grown not only in volume, but also in capabilities.
NMMC is the first Mississippi hospital to offer transfemoral transapical aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a promising new alternative for high-risk patients with aortic stenosis for whom heart surgery is not an option. In the transfemoral method, the valve is delivered through an incision in the leg. NMMC is also the first to perform transapical TAVR for patients who don’t have suitable access through their leg artery. In the transapical method the valve is inserted through an incision between the patient’s ribs and through the bottom end of the heart called the apex.
To learn more about TAVR, click here.
NMMC cardiologists recently implanted Absorb, the nation’s first drug eluting bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS), as part of a research study. Absorb restores blood flow to the heart similar to a metal stent, supports the vessel until the artery can stay open on its own, then dissolves naturally. The result is a treated vessel that may resume more natural function and movement because it is free of a permanent metal stent.
Cardiac electrophysiologist Karl Crossen, M.D., has developed a new procedure known as radiofrequency septal ablation to treat hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic disease where the heart’s septum is enlarged or thickened. This condition can cause shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting, congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms which are sometimes fatal. Until now, the only treatments had been surgery to remove part of the septum or injecting alcohol into a blood vessel, which causes an area of the septum to die. In radiofrequency septal ablation, he uses an advanced cardiac mapping system to target the thickest part of the septum. Then he uses a catheter to deliver radiofrequency energy to ablate (or burn) the excess tissue and reduce the thickness.
Doctors at NMMC implanted the state’s first vagal nerve stimulator as part of a clinical research study to treat heart failure through nerve stimulation in the neck. Vagal nerve stimulation therapy is already FDA approved for other uses, but the INOVATE-HF clinical trial marks the first time it is being used to treat heart failure. Like a traditional pacemaker, the CardioFit device is implanted under the skin of the chest and attached to the heart—but it is also connected to a nerve in the neck. The device sends electrical pulses to the nerve, which sends signals to the heart. The clinical trial will assess whether combining CardioFit and drug therapy is more effective than treating with drug therapy alone.
NMMC is among the first hospitals nationwide to implant the new Evia HF-T triple-chamber cardiac resynchronization therapy pacemaker. The device puts out pulses to keep the heart beating regularly and on time, improving the health of patients with bradycardia and heart failure. Its wireless home monitoring technology uses a cellular network to pick up information from the patient’s implanted device and transmit it to cardiologists daily. The device also measures thoracic impedance or lung fluid levels and alerts the physician before full-fledged heart failure develops.
North Mississippi’s only hybrid operating room opened at NMMC in 2011. A cross between a cardiac catheterization laboratory and a surgical suite, the hybrid OR enables physicians to make a diagnosis and then quickly proceed with treatment, without moving the patient or scheduling separate times for procedures. Because it combines the capabilities of surgery with the most advanced imaging available, the hybrid OR paves the way for more minimally-invasive procedures.
Insurance regulations require a 90-day waiting period after bypass surgery for patients who re being considered for an implantable cardiac defibrillator. In the interim, physicians recommend some patients wear a LifeVest® defibrillator while they assess long-term risk for arrhythmia, or irregular heart rhythm. The LifeVest, which is custom fit for each patient and worn under clothes, constantly monitors the patient’s heart, detects arrhythmias and, if needed, shocks the heart back into normal rhythm. The external defibrillator can protect the patient until an internal defibrillator can be implanted or his heart recovers.
Balloon valvuloplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure used to open a narrowed heart valve, sometimes referred to as stenosis. The cardiologist threads a catheter with a balloon through the femoral artery and into the heart. Once in the aortic valve, the balloon is inflated, which forces the valve open so blood can flow freely again. By improving valve function and blood flow, the patient may avoid or delay open
heart surgery and valve replacement.
The Impella is a powerful pump that replicates the heart’s natural function, continuously uploading the left ventricle and propelling blood into the ascending aorta during risky catheterization procedures. This temporary heart assist device replaces balloon pumps and improves blood perfusion to the heart and other organs.
Transradial access is a new approach for the traditional heart cath. Once the artery is engaged, whether through the wrist or groin, the procedure is virtually the same. Cardiologists can do a diagnostic procedure to detect blockages that impede blood flow to the heart muscle, or interventional procedures known as angioplasty to open up the blocked artery.
Carotid stents benefit high-risk patients who have blocked carotid (neck) arteries because of plaque buildup. The procedure is done in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory while the patient is awake. Thoracic stents are a minimally invasive alternative to repair an aneurysm in the thoracic aorta, which traditionally had required surgery. Known as endovascular stent grafting or endovascular aneurysm repair, the procedure places stents inside the area of the thoracic aneurysm without removing part of the aorta.
NMMC’s Atrial Fibrillation Center offers patients the latest, most up-to-date treatment options for atrial fibrillation. Through a unique collaboration between electrophysiologists and cardiac surgeons, patients are evaluated for the most appropriate treatment. NMMC leads the region in treatment of atrial fibrillation with advanced mapping systems to detect complex abnormal heart rhythms and state-of-the-art ablation techniques to correct them.
NMMC cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, in collaboration with general and vascular surgeons, provide the latest treatment options for patients suffering with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). Using the most current screening tests, our physicians can identify the risk for PAD and offer the best treatment options available.
The mini-valve procedure allows NMMC cardiothoracic surgeons to perform a mitral valve repair/ replacement or aortic valve repair/replacement through a three-inch incision. These patients have fewer complications, decreased blood loss and a quicker recovery.
NMMC cardiothoracic surgeons use this minimally-invasive procedure to harvest the greater saphenous vein in the leg for coronary artery bypass surgery. Because this procedure uses only a two-centimeter incision, these patients have less pain, fewer complications and recover faster.
NMMC offers drug coated stents, which reduce the incidence of reblockage by more than 90 percent compared with a traditional bare metal stent.
NMMC cardiologists were among the first in the nation to use cardiac resynchronization therapy, a treatment for heart failure that uses an implantable device to improve the heart’s pumping capacity.
NMMC cardiologists pioneered using the Amplatzer® to repair two common heart defects – atrial septal defect and patent foramen ovale. The Amplatzer works much like a button to close a hole in the atrial septum. This is placed using echo and X-ray guidance in the Cardiac
Catheterization Lab using small catheters inserted through the leg veins.
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Tupelo, MS 38801