MedStar Health offers the first FDA approved treatment for long-standing, persistent atrial fibrillation

WASHINGTON– Two MedStar Health hospitals are now offering an FDA-approved treatment for patients who have had persistent atrial fibrillation for more than a year. The Hybrid AF™ Convergent Therapy is available both at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. MedStar Health physicians participated in the landmark CONVERGE™ trial, which provided the key data for FDA approval of this treatment in April 2021.doctors in operating room

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is an irregular heartbeat that occurs when a heart has lost its healthy rhythm. If not properly treated, AFib can lead to blood clots, stroke, other heart-related complications, and even sudden death.

Long-standing, persistent atrial fibrillation (LSPAF) is a particularly challenging form of this condition to treat. Some 45 percent of AFib patients cope with LSPAF, so the Hybrid AF Convergent Therapy is a breakthrough treatment for these patients.

“Historically, patients with LSPAF have been challenging to treat, and about half suffer from progressively worsening symptoms,” said Zayd Eldadah, MD, PhD, director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “This hybrid procedure will help improve the lives of millions of patients with severe AFib, and we are thrilled that we now have a new arsenal in our toolbox to treat what was once a very difficult disease.”

The Hybrid AF Convergent Therapy is a minimally invasive, two-part ablation procedure that uses heat to stop the erratic electrical signals that cause AFib and restore a normal heart rhythm. A cardiac surgeon performs the first procedure by making a small incision under the breastbone, to create access to the heart and then creates lesions or scar tissue on the back walls of the heart. An electrophysiologist then gains access to the inside of the heart and blood vessels through the groin, to deliver therapeutic energy to areas of the heart to destroy the abnormal electrical activity.

“There have been less than optimal outcomes for a population of AFib patients who simply don’t respond as we would like to after endocardial ablation alone,” said Brian Bethea, MD, chief of Cardiac Surgery at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. “This is the kind of technology we looked to the future for, and now it’s available. This is a double procedure we feel confident in offering our patients with persistent AFib, where the incisions are small, the hospital stay and recovery times are shorter and most importantly, the success rate is high. I’m so proud to be able to offer this to patients at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital.”

MedStar Health has offered convergent therapy for the last decade, and the recent FDA approval has moved the Hybrid AF™ Convergent Therapy to the forefront of treatment options.

AFib is the most common arrhythmia in the U.S. with one out of four adults over 40 developing AFib in their lifetime.  


About MedStar Health
At MedStar Health, we use the best of our minds and the best of our hearts to serve our patients, those who care for them, and our communities. Our 30,000 associates and 4,700 affiliated physicians are committed to living this promise through our core SPIRIT values—Service, Patient first, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork—across our more than 300 locations including 10 hospitals, ambulatory, and urgent care centers. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar Health is training future physician leaders to care for the whole person and is advancing care through the MedStar Health Research Institute. From our telemedicine and urgent care services to the region’s largest home health agency, we’re committed to providing high-quality health care that’s also easy and convenient for our patients. At MedStar Health—It’s how we treat people. Learn more at MedStarHealth.org.

Media Contacts

So Young Pak
Director, Media Relations
202-877-2748
[email protected]

Debra Schindler
410-274-1260
[email protected]

Brian Bethea, MD, Named Chief of Cardiac Surgery at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

BALTIMORE— Brian T. Bethea, MD, a widely published leader in cardio-thoracic health, has been named Chief of Cardiac Surgery at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, where he oversees management of the heart surgery program and quality initiatives, effective July 1.

Dr. Bethea, who served as vice chief of Cardiac Surgery at MedStar Union Memorial, and the regional chief of Outreach for the Baltimore region, receives the baton from Dr. Michael Fiocco, who is stepping aside from the leadership role after 18 years of service. Among his achievements, under his leadership, the cardiac surgery program earned a coveted three-star rating for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) procedures from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the highest achievable metric in the United States for the procedure. This put the team in the top seven percent of high-performing hospitals nationwide.

Dr. Bethea has participated in nearly all major U.S. clinical trials for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, (TAVR), and has been involved in early feasibility trials for transcatheter mitral valve repair and replacement. He was selected to participate in past trials for the mitral and tricuspid valves, including Tendyne™, MitraClip™, ENCIRCLE, and TRILUMINATE.

He is the only surgeon in Maryland to offer patients the latter two options. He travels the world teaching valve repair and replacement techniques to other surgeons and is widely published in all the major cardiothoracic medical journals. Dr. Bethea was among the first authors to be published on the topic of transcatheter mitral valve replacement–a rapidly evolving and expanding field.

“Dr. Bethea’s clinical interests involve minimally invasive approaches to valvular and structural heart disease,” said Dr. Stuart Bell, vice president of medical affairs chief medical officer at MedStar Good Samaritan and MedStar Union Memorial Hospitals. “This includes procedures such as TAVR, transcatheter mitral valve repair and replacement, transcatheter tricuspid valve repair and replacement, and multi-arterial coronary revascularization, so his level of expertise in the most advanced technology available for cardiac surgery bring an already quality program to another level. We are very proud of the work he’s heading up here, and excited about what that means for our patients.”

After earning his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma, he completed his residency in general surgery, followed by a fellowship in cardiac surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“I believe in providing personalized, tailored care to each of my patients. Whether it’s a minimally invasive procedure, an open procedure, or a hybrid approach, my goal is to find the method that will best fit the person, rather than the other way around. Since I have been involved in the development of so many new technologies, I can provide patients with all their options, so we can make an informed decision together. I wholeheartedly believe in a team approach to providing care, and view patients, their families, and their referring physicians as integral members of the care team.”

Dr. Bethea is board certified in thoracic surgery and is a member of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.


About MedStar Health
At MedStar Health, we use the best of our minds and the best of our hearts to serve our patients, those who care for them, and our communities. Our 30,000 associates and 4,700 affiliated physicians are committed to living this promise through our core SPIRIT values—Service, Patient first, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork—across our more than 300 locations including 10 hospitals, ambulatory, and urgent care centers. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar Health is training future physician leaders to care for the whole person and is advancing care through the MedStar Health Research Institute. From our telemedicine and urgent care services to the region’s largest home health agency, we’re committed to providing high-quality health care that’s also easy and convenient for our patients. At MedStar Health—It’s how we treat people. Learn more at MedStarHealth.org.

Debra Schindler
Regional Director, Media & Public Relations, MedStar Health Baltimore
Phone: 410-274-1260
[email protected]

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Reach Milestone

BALTIMORE  — MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts performed a milestone one-thousandth transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital June 29th when they replaced the aortic valve in the heart of a 67-year old Dundalk man, without open heart surgery.

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital became a regional leader in performing transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR, when it was first introduced in 2012 as an alternative to traditional surgical aortic valve replacement through an open chest.

Using the TAVR approach, physicians are able to replace a patient’s narrowed aortic valve without open heart surgery. A new heart valve is inserted into the diseased heart valve on a small catheter inserted through the femoral leg artery. Once the new heart valve is expanded, it starts to work immediately. This is done while the patient’s heart is beating and the procedure takes under an hour.

Dr. John Wang, the chief of the cardiac catheterization lab and director of the structural heart program at MedStar Union Memorial, credits his team of interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, valve coordinators, nurses and techs for the momentous success of performing 1000 TAVR procedures, an option that was first available only to inoperable patients.

Dr. Wang said, “It has been an exciting journey to be part of this transformational technology. Prior to 2012 when we performed our first TAVR, patients had to undergo traditional open-heart surgery or were left with no options if they were too sick. Over the last decade our team has been able to impact the lives of more than a thousand patients with severe aortic stenosis. It’s an exciting time in cardiac care.”

Ken Rogers, the one-thousandth TAVR patient, called the procedure, “a miracle,” as he was preparing to go home the following day. “I feel great. I don’t feel any pain,” he added.

An estimated 2.5 million people over the age of 75, suffer with aortic stenosis, caused by calcium build-up in the aortic valve. The result is a narrowing in the valve which prevents it from opening and closing properly, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. The reduced blood flow increases pressure within the heart, causing the heart to weaken and function poorly.

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About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations.  MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic, the nation’s #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac surgery. This alliance also strengthens excellent clinical care and enables high-level collaboration on research.

Media Contact

Phone 410-274-1260
Email [email protected]

MedStar Health is First in Maryland to Replace Mitral Valve Via Tendyne Transcatheter

BALTIMORE—Drs. Brian Bethea, John Wang, Nauman Siddiqi and Antony Kaliyadan of the MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute (MHVI) at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, successfully implanted the state’s first Tendyne transcather mitral valve replacement (TMVR) system November 14, as part of a national clinical trial testing the safety and efficacy of the implant as an option to open-heart surgery. Dr. Bethea is the MedStar principal investigator on the trial.

The patient, an 86-year-old Pikesville woman, was enrolled in the trial because of mitral regurgitation, (MR) a debilitating, progressive and life-threatening condition in which the heart's mitral valve does not close completely, causing blood to flow backward and leak into the left atrium of the heart.

The backward flow causes severe fatigue, shortness of breath, lightheadedness and a rapid, fluttering heartbeat. Severe cases can cause fluid to build up in the lungs, strain the heart and lead to heart failure. Patients with MR are also at risk for blood clots and stroke.

Four million Americans are affected by mitral regurgitation with only about 20 percent treatable by open heart surgery.

“The patient in this case really had limited treatment options because of the severity of her valvular disease her age and other factors,” said Dr. Bethea, Vice Chief of Cardiac Surgery at MedStar Union Memorial. “This is truly a groundbreaking advancement that is potentially lifesaving for patients who would not be able to undergo the risks of open-heart surgery. It will dramatically improve their quality of life.”

The device is a tri-leaflet, bioprosthetic valve available in multiple sizes, that once inserted through a small puncture in the side of the chest, and into a tiny incision at the tip of the heart is positioned inside the patient’s own mitral valve. Using a unique tether mechanism, the valve position is stabilized when the apical pad is applied directly to the heart.

The Tendyne mitral valve system is the first and only mitral valve replacement device that can be repositioned and fully retrieved, ensuring precise placement during implantation, which could improve patient outcomes.

The clinical trial, called SUMMIT, is expected to enroll 1,010 patients at 80 sites across the U.S., Canada and the European Union.

Tendyne Mitral Valve System is under investigation by FDA and is not commercially available.

Please click here more information

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About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

Media Contact

Debra Schindler
Regional Director, Media & Public Relations, MedStar Health Baltimore
Office: 410-554-2496
Cell: 410-274-1260
[email protected]

MedStar Health Gives Infiltrative Cardiomyopathy Patients New Hope for Life

BALTIMORE—MedStar Health Heart and Vascular Institute has launched a program at MedStar Union Memorial and MedStar Good Samaritan hospitals to diagnose, treat and research two life-threatening heart conditions that often go unrecognized, and is developing the program into a nationally-recognized center of excellence that has no peer in the region.

The two conditions – cardiac amyloidosis and cardiac sarcoidosis – are known as infiltrative cardiomyopathies, in which the heart collects deposits of abnormal substances. In cardiac amyloidosis, abnormal components of proteins called amyloid collect in the heart and cause it to become thick and stiff. In cardiac sarcoidosis, clusters of white blood cells called granulomas accumulate within the heart. Both can lead to heart failure, arrythmias, and even sudden death.

MedStar Health is launching the program as new advances in medical imaging, technology and treatments have made diagnosing and treating the conditions easier. Both conditions often go undiagnosed for too long, and MedStar Health heart experts intend to expand care to more patients and catch their diseases earlier.

“Cardiac amyloidosis and sarcoidosis have historically been diseases associated with a poor prognosis,” said Farooq Sheikh, MD, FACC, a heart failure expert who is leading MedStar Health’s infiltrative cardiomyopathy program. “With new medical advances, the chances for improved outcomes for patients with these diseases has never been brighter. Through the MedStar Health program, patients have access to top specialists, the latest technology and a full complement of treatments including clinical trials, LVAD therapy and cardiac transplantations.”

Dr. Sheikh will start seeing patients at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in January 2020. The program will also draw on the expertise of other nationally-recognized heart leaders including George Ruiz, MD, chief of cardiology at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital and MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, and Sandeep Jani, MD, the associate director of advanced heart failure and population health at MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute in the Baltimore region.

Once thought to be rare, heart and vascular experts are increasingly recognizing cardiac amyloidosis as a cause of heart failure. The hard, misfolded proteins involved – amyloid – are also implicated in brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Its symptoms – shortness of breath, fatigue and palpitations – can mimic other conditions. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug called Tafamidis to treat cardiac amyloidosis due to transthyretin (TTR) deposition. Two additional drugs, called patisiran and inotersen, have been approved to treat hereditary amyloidosis complicated by polyneuropathy. These drug developments have given experts new tools against forms of the disease. Several clinical trials are upcoming.

Sarcoidosis is a systemic disease that can affect multiple organs, including the heart. Recently, experts have recognized that the way sarcoidosis affects the heart is an underrecognized cause of heart failure. The disease’s heart involvement is “silent” in almost all cases, leading to underdiagnosis. Newer treatment options include non-steroid immunosuppressive therapies and implantable cardiac defibrillators.

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About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations.  MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic, the nation’s #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac surgery. This alliance also strengthens excellent clinical care and enables high-level collaboration on research.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

Media Contacts

Debra Schindler
Regional Director, Media & Public Relations, MedStar Health Baltimore
Office: 410-554-2496
Cell: 410-274-1260
[email protected]

Carrie Wells
Public Relations Specialist, MedStar Health Baltimore
443-613-1569 
[email protected]

MedStar Electrophysiologist Paves Way for Safer Pacemaker Implants

New Algorithm May Aid in Adoption of Better Heart Pacing Method

BALTIMORE—(February 15, 2019)—An algorithm created by cardiac electrophysiologist Aditya Saini, MD, of MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, may pave the way for a superior method of installing pacemakers to become more widely adopted around the world.

In an article published in the medical journal Circulation- Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology released last week, Dr. Saini proposes an algorithm that solves a practical barrier to the adoption of a method of pacemaker installation, known as His bundle pacing (HBP). His bundle pacing takes advantage of the natural conduction fibers to pace the heart, allowing a coordinated and perfectly timed contraction of the heart, as opposed to traditional pacing, which simply paces from one spot in the heart, leading to an uncoordinated contraction. This electrically coordinated- or synchronized- contraction makes all the difference when it comes to mechanical properties of the heart pump.

Recent studies have found HBP to be a safe, feasible and superior pacing technique, reducing the combined endpoint of death, hospitalizations for heart failure or need for future pacemaker upgrades when compared to traditional cardiac pacing.

However, HBP increases the complexity of routine patient follow-up, adding time and effort and disrupting busy clinics because lengthy device interrogations are needed while correlating them with simultaneously recorded electrocardiograms (ECGs). Moreover, no existing device algorithms specific to HBP can accurately diagnose device malfunction or guide adjustment of pacemaker settings, making remote monitoring of patients challenging.

The algorithm, which was developed as part of a multicenter effort and in collaboration with Medtronic, which manufactures His Bundle Pacemakers, can be incorporated into the devices. It can also be used immediately in clinics, allowing doctors to ensure the devices are performing properly –even without an EKG. When the algorithm is incorporated into the devices, doctors can monitor patients remotely and accurately diagnose and treat potential pacemaker problems. The application of the algorithm may help make patient follow-up safe and efficient, removing a principal obstacle to widespread adoption of HBP.

“As His Bundle Pacing becomes prime time, there were certain challenges, including the time-consuming and cumbersome nature of the follow up,” said Dr. Saini, who is the first author on the Circulation article. “Those challenges definitely acted as a barrier for His Bundle Pacing to become widely adopted. This study is the first novel step toward an algorithm that can resolve those issues.”

Pacemakers control slow heart rhythms by generating electric currents. The traditional device is implanted in the chest and sends current through wires embedded in the upper and lower chambers of the heart. With a His Bundle pacemaker, one of the wires that would normally be implanted in the right ventricle (lower chamber) of the heart is implanted into the bundle of His, a collection of cells which are part of the normal electrical wiring of the heart.

With a traditional pacemaker, the constant electrical current can cause the heart to wear out, resulting in heart failure and also increase risk of development of atrial fibrillation. His Bundle Pacing, by comparison, results in a more natural method of restoring regular heart rhythm by essentially ‘rewiring the heart’ .

“The electrical activation is natural, and in the ideal case can look exactly like it would without a pacemaker,” Dr. Saini said. “It should not give you heart failure that can develop with a traditional pacemaker, and is also a superior pacemaker if you already have heart failure.”

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About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations.  MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic, the nation’s #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac surgery. This alliance also strengthens excellent clinical care and enables high-level collaboration on research.

 

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is First in State to Offer New Self Expanding Aortic Valve

Advanced Technology Offers Hope to Qualified Patients Needing Replacement

sentera-aortic-replacement-valve-002

BALTIMORE— Dr. John Wang, chief of the cardiac catheterization lab, and his team at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, used a revolutionary new self-expanding aortic replacement valve in the hearts of two women, each suffering from severe aortic valve stenosis. The women became the first in the Maryland to receive the Centera transcatheter aortic valve which only became available in the United States for the treatment of intermediate surgical-risk patients through the EXCEED clinical trial in October. The Centera valve was approved in Europe last February.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center in DC, a sister hospital of MedStar Union Memorial, has successfully implanted eight of the new valves. Combined with today’s two implants, MedStar Health can account for nearly a third of the total implants of this new technology in the U.S.

“We are extremely excited to be able to offer this novel technology to our patients,” said Dr. Wang, an industry leader in cardiac catheterizations. “It is yet another example of MedStar Union Memorial Hospital being on the cutting edge of cardiac care and offering tomorrow’s technology today.”

The Edwards Centera valve is a novel repositionable and retrievable self-expanding valve that is deployed with a motorized handle. It comes packaged with the valve fully pre-attached to the delivery system, which simplifies and expedites device preparation.

Aortic stenosis is one of the most common valve problems and severe cases can be life threatening. The result of it causes a narrowing of the aortic valve opening, restricting blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta. Valve replacement surgery has been the standard of care for patients with symptoms that include breathlessness, chest pain, pressure, fainting, palpitations, lethargy and a heart murmur.

Patients with aortic stenosis should discuss with their doctor whether they qualify for the Centera valve as part of the EXCEED clinical trial.

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About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations.  MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic, the nation’s #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac surgery. This alliance also strengthens excellent clinical care and enables high-level collaboration on research.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service.

For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

MedStar Health to Host Innovative Approaches To Heart Care Webcast

BALTIMORE—(June 26, 2018)—MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute will host the Innovative Approaches To Heart Care webcast on Wednesday, June 27 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hosted by WBAL TV 11 News’ Megan Pringle, the forum will be broadcast on Facebook Live and feature top cardiovascular doctors and surgeons.

Viewers and audience members will hear from Drs. John Wang, Nauman Siddiqi and Antony Kaliyadan about cardiac catheterization performed through the wrist, or transradially, and why it is safer and more comfortable than traditional catheterization performed by accessing arteries through the groin. The audience will hear from a patient who had both a traditional cardiac catheterization and a transradial cardiac catheterization, who is in a unique position to compare the two approaches.

In the second part of the webcast, beginning at 7:35 p.m., Drs. Michael Fiocco and John Wang will discuss structural issues of the heart, focusing on conditions such as valve disease and aortic stenosis.

The event will be streamed from MedStar Union Memorial Hospital’s transradial recovery lounge, a comfortable waiting area with snacks and entertainment for patients who have undergone a transradial cardiac catheterization. The lounge opened in September 2017. The webcast will offer viewers the chance to see the lounge, which looks more like a hotel lobby rather than a hospital recovery area.

Nearly 90 percent of MedStar Union Memorial Hospital’s cardiac catheterization procedures are done transradially, a rate that leads the Mid-Atlantic region and is more than twice as high as the national average. The transradial approach to cardiac catheterization was first performed at MedStar Union Memorial in 2010 when Dr. John Wang became the first physician in the state to widely adopt this advanced technique.

To participate in the webcast, viewers can log on to MedStarHeart.org/Webcast to watch streaming video and chat live with the experts. Participants also can follow the event on Facebook and on Twitter, by using the hashtag #AskMedStar.

Meet the panelists:

John Wang, MD, MSc, FACC, FSCAI: Dr. Wang is chief of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. He specializes in complex angioplasty, chronic total occlusions, and trans-radial cardiac catheterizations. Dr. Wang is board-certified in Interventional Cardiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine. Widely published in his field, Dr. Wang has been principal investigator or sub-investigator on more than 20 studies.

Nauman Siddiqi, MD, FSCAI, FACC: Dr. Siddiqi is an interventional cardiologist who holds two board certifications in cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology. He is fellowship trained in interventional cardiology and cardiology and holds a masters degree in epidemiology. His professional interests include aortic and mitral valvuloplasty; transcatheter aortic valve replacement; the WATCHMAN device implantation, transradial cardiac catheterization; percutaneous coronary intervention, inclusive of pericardiocentesis; atrial septal defect; and patent foramen ovale closure, myocardial biopsy, and rotational atherectomy.

Antony Kaliyadan, MD: Dr. Kaliyadan is a fellowship-trained interventional cardiologist who holds certifications in cardiovascular disease, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and vascular imaging. Dr. Kaliyadan's interests and expertise includes complex coronary interventions, atherectomy, coronary imaging, and circulatory support devices. He also has a special interest in peripheral interventions and structural heart procedures including TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement), PFO (patent foramen ovale) closure, ASD (atrial septal defect) closure, mitral valvuloplasty, etc.

Michael Fiocco, MD: Dr. Fiocco is chief of cardiovascular surgery at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. He is board certified in cardiac, general and thoracic surgery. Dr. Fiocco specializes in providing care for people with artery disease, valvular disease, and aortic aneurysm. His heart care expertise has earned him recognition by Baltimore magazine as a Top Doctor in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2017. Dr. Fiocco and his team specialize in beating heart surgery, which allows surgeons to operate without temporarily stopping the heart during surgery. This type of surgery helps reduce complications that can occur when the heart is stopped.

About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations.  MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic, the nation’s #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac surgery. This alliance also strengthens excellent clinical care and enables high-level collaboration on research.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

Media Contacts

Debra Schindler
Regional Director, Media & Public Relations, MedStar Health Baltimore
410-274-1260
[email protected]


Carrie Wells
Media Relations Specialist, MedStar Health Baltimore
443-613-1569
[email protected]

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute Transforms Patient Experience

BALTIMORE—(October 9, 2017) — In the newly opened radial lounge at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, John Lurz is sitting comfortably in a chair with his wife, eating a sandwich and fresh fruit, holding a book in his lap. Wearing khakis and a button down shirt, a small wrist band is the only hint that an hour earlier, John underwent a procedure that opened a potentially lethal coronary blockage.

The scene underscores MedStar Union Memorial’s leadership in interventional cardiology, and its progressive shift toward safer and more comfortable cardiac catheterizations. To be specific, accessing the coronary arteries through the wrist, known as the transradial approach, rather than the traditional access through the femoral artery in the groin, virtually eliminates the risk of major bleeding.

This transradial approach to cardiac catheterization was first performed at MedStar Union Memorial in 2010 when the chief of it’s catheterization lab, Dr. John Wang, became the first physician in the state to widely adopt this advanced technique. Since then, nearly 90-percent of the hospital’s cardiac catheterization procedures are done transradially, a rate that leads the Mid-Atlantic region and is more than twice as high as the national average.

The radial lounge is a stark contrast to what currently exists in traditional cardiac catheterization recovery units, where patients must lie flat for up to six hours.  In addition, walking or sitting up to eat, are prohibited because of the risks associated with the standard approach to catheterization procedures. 

“I think the radial lounge will change the way patients see their care,” said Dr. Wang. “We can do the most complex procedures radially, and the patients can be in a comfortable and relaxing space, with their family or friends, and have an infinitely better experience with peace of mind knowing our outcomes are stellar.”

An angiogram performed in the Medstar Union Memorial cath lab revealed a blockage in the main blood vessel that feeds the front of John Lurz’s heart. The critical blockage is known as the ‘widowmaker’- so named because of its predictive implications. Dr. Wang inserted a tiny catheter through John’s wrist, to access the blockage, and placed a mesh stent to clear the blockage.

“An hour later,” said Lurz, “my wife helped me get dressed and we were able to pick something to eat from right there in the lounge. Being in the lounge was very positive. My wife and I sat in front of a coffee table with comfortable chairs and the food was delicious. I didn’t feel like I was a patient.  Being in the lounge really de-stressed the entire experience for me.”

For more information about the transradial lounge at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, go to: MedStarUnionMemorial.org/RadialLounge

About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations.  MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute, the nation’s #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac surgery. This alliance also strengthens excellent clinical care and enables high-level collaboration on research.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

Media Contacts

Debra Schindler
Regional Director, Media & Public Relations, MedStar Health Baltimore
410-274-2496
[email protected]

Carrie Wells
Public Relations Specialist, MedStar Health Baltimore
443-613-1569
[email protected]

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute Offers Patients World’s Smallest Pacemaker

BALTIMORE, Md – [March 13, 2017]  The MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is now offering the Micra trans-catheter pacing system (TPS), the world’s smallest and most advanced pacemaker available, to patients with bradycardia and other single chamber cardiac rhythm disorders.  Drs. Glenn Meininger and David Schamp first used the wireless device last week when they implanted the vitamin-sized pacemaker directly into a patient’s heart.

Weighing the same as a penny, TPS is one tenth of the size of standard pacemakers.  

Dr. Meininger, medical director of the electrophysiological program for the Baltimore region, implanted the device by inserting a wire catheter through a small incision in the groin and threading the TPS through the femoral artery, into the right ventricle of the patient’s heart.  The fully miniaturized pacemaker is self-contained with a battery, and attaches to the heart with small tines.  By comparison, a standard pacemaker is surgically implanted under the collar bone, or sewn into a pocket flap of skin. It attaches to the heart with electrode wires that run through the chest’s venous system to the device. 

“This little device is quite sophisticated in its design,” said Dr. Meininger. “Because it’s implanted minimally invasively, there’s significantly less risk of complications or infection.  It’s cosmetically invisible- no surgical scar, and the patient can be active almost immediately after its implanted.  This is truly an exciting advancement in cardiac rhythm pacing therapy, and I am happy to be able to offer the option to our patients.”

Like a standard pacemaker, TPS sends electrical impulses to the heart to help restore a normal heart rhythm to patients suffering bradycardia, a slow heart rhythm.  Bradycardia impedes the heart’s ability to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity, causing dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting spells

The Micra TPS has a 12-year battery and is designed to be retrievable.

For more information on the Micra pacemaker at MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, go to www.medstarheart.org/smallestpacemaker.

About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations.  MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic, the nation’s #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac surgery. This alliance also strengthens excellent clinical care and enables high-level collaboration on research.

About MedStar Health

MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation, and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.

Media Contact:

Debra Schindler
[email protected]
410-274-1260