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Northwestern launches comprehensive program for patients with bicuspid aortic valve disease
Date:7/3/2012

am at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. "By bringing together a team of specialists, we are able to provide patients with comprehensive care beginning at diagnosis and can carefully anticipate when an intervention may be needed."

Cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, radiologists and a dedicated research nurse work together to coordinate care for patients. "My role is to make sure each patient has a seamless journey with us," said Colleen Clennon, RN, Bicuspid Aortic Valve Nurse Clinician at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.

"By using state-of-the-art research techniques, our research team is focused on providing new knowledge that will help guide patient care and improve outcomes for patients and their families with BAV," said Paul Fedak, MD, PhD, Adjunct Associate Professor at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. "Our rapidly expanding tissue and blood bank will allow our team to explore the molecular and cellular mechanisms that cause the changes that complicate BAV. Our integrated scientific and clinical approach will apply this knowledge and allow our team of physicians to better manage this common and sometimes challenging problem."

The cause of BAV is not completely clear, but experts believe it develops during the early stages of pregnancy. It can run in families with an estimated ten percent of cases attributed to hereditary causes.

"Our program extends care to first degree relatives who may also be impacted by BAV," added Puthumana. "Through screening family members of patients with BAV, we can identify cases of BAV earlier and begin monitoring patients before problems present."

Symptoms associated with BAV can include chest pain, shortness of breath, a racing heartbeat and fainting spells due to a restricted valve. While some patients will live for years without symptoms or any sign of concern, an estimated 60 percent will require surgical intervention at some point in their lifetime.

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Contact: Todd Medland
tmedland@nmh.org
312-926-0735
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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