UM Gets Technology for New Heart Valves - NBC 6 South Florida

UM Gets Technology for New Heart Valves

The new technology makes placement more precise

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    The Zeego is one of the new cutting edge tools at the UM Hospital’s new $2.5 million Hybrid Cath Lab. (Published Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011)

    The Zeego rotates around a heart patient on the table, taking X-ray images that help doctors replace an aortic valve without open surgery. 

    It is one of the new cutting edge tools at the UM Hospital’s new $2.5 million Hybrid Cath Lab.

    Software transforms the black and white pictures into a colorful 3 Dimensional reconstruction that makes the procedure more accurate.  Dr. William O’Neill, a UM Interventional cardiologist, says placement of the valve needs to be precise.

    “If we place the valve too low it will go into the heart.  If we put the valve too high it will break out into the aorta,” said ONeill.

    This was the official opening of the new Cath Lab which is a hybrid because it can convert into an open heart operating room if necessary.

    Merle Hargis, 84, of Orlando was the first patient to use it.

    “He was hospitalized twice a year because of his aortic valve failing,” said his wife Pilar Hargis.

    On Nov. 22, he became patient number 140 at UM Hospital to receive the Sapien Transcather Valve.  This has been a study site for the valve, which is inserted through a tiny opening between two ribs. FDA approved the device in November. UM will start using this on non-research patients next week.

    “It’s for valve replacement in patients who are not candidates for open heart surgery,”  said Dr. Alan Heldman, a interventional cardiologist at UM.

    Today Hargis was released from the hospital, and his daughters see a big improvement.

    “His breathing is much better, that was immediate,” said Sheryl Glore.

    “He had a hard time catching his breath. He was constantly gasping, and now he sounds great.  He looks great,” added her sister Alicia Perkinson.

    The Cath lab will be used for more than treating patients. Since UM Doctors have heard of experience with this newly approved valve doctors from other parts of the country and the world will be coming here for training.