Traditional open heart surgery. Deborah Department of Surgery Chair Dr. Paul Burns says advancing technology means that “tradition” is becoming more of an exception than an expectation. Minimally invasive procedures are increasingly allowing him and his colleagues to treat cardiac issues without incisions in the chest wall or cardiopulmonary bypass machines, with far fewer surgical risks and less downtime.
Calling it an “exciting time” for cardiac surgery, Dr. Burns cites the revolutionary procedure of trans-catheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR. Within the space of about four years, Dr. Burns and his colleagues at Deborah have performed more than 300 TAVR procedures and have seen it grow from limited use in only “high-risk” patients who were poor candidates for open-chest procedures, to use today in “intermediate-risk” patients; Dr. Burns expects ongoing tests could signal the go-ahead within two years for its use in lower-risk patients as well, with catheter-based valve replacement expanding to repair more heart valves than the aortic valve it was initially designed to fix.
Great strides are being made to treat issues such as atrial fibrillation and heart failure less invasively, with intriguing developments in the field that Dr. Burns, at the leading cardiopulmonary specialty hospital in the region, gets to see first. KYW’s Rasa Kaye sits down with him to discuss Cardiac Surgery at Deborah in 2017 and Beyond.
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