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Heart Hospital of Austin Opens Heart Valve Clinic, Among First Sites in U.S. to Receive New Trans-Catheter Aortic Valve Replacement Technology Since FDA Approval

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- On January 24, Heart Hospital of Austin opened a Heart Valve Clinic, the first of its kind in the region. The clinic gives new hope to patients with severe aortic stenosis who were previously considered "inoperable," delivering a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating such cases. Additionally, interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at the clinic will collaboratively identify patients who may be eligible for a new, catheter-based valve replacement procedure, known as trans-catheter aortic valve replacement, instead of traditional, open-chest procedures. Heart Hospital of Austin is among the first sites in the nation to receive this trans-catheter aortic valve replacement technology since it was approved by the FDA in November 2011.

"This is truly a collaborative approach to valve replacement that will provide another option for patients who are not candidates for open-chest surgery due to advanced age, or because they are too ill or suffering from additional medical conditions," Faraz Kerendi, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon at Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons who practices at Heart Hospital of Austin, said. "Prior to this procedure, such patients were classified as inoperable and had no treatment options. They were often given only months to live."

Severe aortic stenosis is a condition in which the opening of the aortic valve—which is located between the main pumping chamber of the heart, or left ventricle, and the aorta—becomes narrow, restricting blood flow from the heart.

"Over time, the valve can become calcified, preventing it from opening and releasing the blood properly," Juhana Karha, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin and with Austin Heart, said. "Open-chest surgery is the traditional treatment method for this condition, but catheter-based valve replacement gives hope to patients who cannot undergo surgery for a variety of reasons."

Symptoms of severe aortic stenosis include chest pain and chest pressure. It can also cause blood to "back up" into the lungs, resulting in shortness of breath and other breathing problems. Left untreated, this condition is often fatal.

Trans-catheter aortic valve replacement consists of inserting a valve—which has been developed to shrink down to the size of a pencil—through the groin via catheter (a flexible tube), up to the aorta. After the catheter is advanced through the aorta and aortic valve, it is positioned and then opened with a balloon.

Trans-catheter aortic valve replacement results in a shorter recovery time—one to two weeks, versus six to eight weeks for traditional surgery—and a much smaller incision. More importantly, it prevents the need for physicians to utilize a heart bypass machine. This new technology allows the patient's heart to beat on its own throughout the entire procedure.

The Heart Valve Clinic operates under the guidance of interventional cardiologists, Juhana Karha, M.D., and Frank Zidar, M.D., of Austin Heart, as well as cardiothoracic surgeons, Faraz Kerendi, M.D., and Stephen Dewan, M.D., of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons.

The first trans-catheter aortic valve replacement procedure is expected to take place in February.

Heart Hospital of Austin
Specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, Heart Hospital of Austin is a shared vision of local cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons. Working with hospital leadership, the physicians created an atmosphere of quality, resulting in the leading cardiac program in Texas for six consecutive years as ranked by HealthGrades®—a leading independent health ratings organization. In July 2009, a study funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services revealed that Heart Hospital of Austin was the leading hospital in the United States for treatment of a heart attack. Heart Hospital of Austin has also been named a top cardiovascular hospital in the nation by Thomson Reuters for six years, most recently being named to the list of 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals in 2011. In addition to providing a full range of cardiovascular services and an advanced Executive Wellness Program, Heart Hospital of Austin has a comprehensive 24-hour emergency department. For more information, please visit

Austin Heart
Austin Heart is the largest provider of cardiac and vascular services in Central Texas, with 12 full-time office locations, 17 outreach clinics and 45 cardiologists. Austin Heart has been serving the Central Texas area since 1973. Austin Heart's cardiologists sub-specialize in every diagnostic and treatment area of cardiovascular disease, America's No. 1 killer—interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, vein disease, sleep disorders, erectile dysfunction, imaging, women's cardiovascular health and a nationally recognized research department. To learn more about Austin Heart physicians, or to schedule an appointment, visit

Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons, PA
For over five decades, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons (CTVS) has been proud to offer Central Texas the most specialized and innovative cardiothoracic, vascular and pediatric surgical care available. The most sophisticated diagnostic and surgical techniques are provided by 20 CTVS surgeons from four offices in Central Austin, Williamson County, Hays County, San Angelo and all area hospitals. Individually and collectively, CTVS surgeons have amassed a record of medical "firsts" in Central Texas, including performing the first heart and kidney transplants in the area. Since 1958, the surgeons, along with the clinical team of physician assistants, nurses and technicians, have shared a commitment to patients, their health and the community. To learn more about Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons, please call 512.459.8753 or visit

Media Contacts:
Erin Ochoa and Kristin Marcum
Elizabeth Christian & Associates Public Relations

SOURCE Heart Hospital of Austin
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