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Heart Care Specialty Updates

August 2017

Center’s care model to expand access to heart specialists

A new care model promises to expand new patient access and clinic time with M Health Atrial Fibrillation Center electrophysiologists at the University of Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center. With the new model, nurse practitioners will play a greater role in the management of longterm care of patients. The center’s electrophysiologists will have concentrated time to see new patients with atrial fibrillation. One certified nurse practitioner joined the center and its 5 electrophysiologists in 2016, with a second to arrive this year.

Robotic PCI available in Twin Cities’ hospital

University of Minnesota Health Heart Care cardiologist Gregory Helmer, MD, performed the Twin Cities’ first percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) aided by robotic system in 2016, and the approach has joined the repertoire of interventions available to M Health Heart Care patients. Robotic PCI gives interventional cardiologists enhanced precision in measurement and movement when guiding tools, wires, and stents through the coronary circulation. The robotic CorPath 200 System, made by Corindus Vascular Robotics, Inc., is designed to give cardiologists hands-free operation of devices, while removing physicians from repeated exposure to radiation emanating from the contrast dye used in PCI procedures.

Trial to test TAVR in lower-risk heart surgery patients

A minimally invasive procedure approved for patients at high or intermediate risk of mortality during open-heart surgery is now being tested in lower-risk patients and available through University of Minnesota Medical Center. The center is a trial location in the multisite PARTNER-3 clinical trial evaluating use of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) with the SAPIEN 3 artificial heart valve (Edwards Lifesciences, LLC) in low-risk patients (NCT02675114). The TAVR procedure is currently FDA approved only for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are in need of an artificial aortic valve but are considered at an intermediate or greater risk of death within 30 days after traditional open-heart surgery for valve replacement. For information, contact

TAVR procedures now available at Southdale Hospital

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), the minimally invasive procedure for patients with severe aortic stenosis, is now available at Fairview Southdale Hospital. The procedure serves as an alternate intervention for patients for whom open heart surgery poses a high risk. TAVR was approved in the United States in 2012, and this summer, its use was approved in patients who are at high risk of complications from repeat open procedures to replace failed valve replacements. It is now under clinical review for use in lower-risk patients.

With TAVR, interventional cardiologists advance a catheter carrying the heart valve through either the femoral artery or via a chest-wall incision between the ribs into the heart. TAVR provides relief from symptoms of aortic stenosis and a shorter recovery time. University of Minnesota Health physicians were among the first to implement the procedure and have reported a 30-day survival rate of about 98%.

Related Articles

August 2017

Device Assists A-fib Patients Not Eligible for Anticoagulant Use

Left atrial appendage occlusion provides an alternate approach to addressing stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation. The appendage is the origin of most atrial clots in those with nonvalvular A-fib.

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August 2017

Risk of Stroke and Bleeding Addressed with Occlusion Device

Placement of a left atrial appendage occlusion device reduces stroke risk in a patient with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation who was at risk for falls and bleeding.

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