DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. - DuPage Medical Group, the largest independent, multi-specialty physician group in the Chicago area, continues to invest in leading-edge technology and emerging treatment options in the field of structural heart disease to provide high quality care for patients. Structural heart disease refers to disorders of the valves and chambers of the heart that historically have been treated with open-heart surgery. The modern management of structural heart disease uses minimally invasive treatment with catheters, avoiding the risk and recovery time needed for open-heart surgery. In March of 2015, DMG established its structural heart disease program. As a result of its success, DMG plans to continue supporting its rapid growth.
DMG’s structural heart disease team is a multidisciplinary group of board-certified cardiologists and advanced-practice nurses who closely collaborate in the management of complex cases. Through careful evaluation of patient data, and extensive review of CT and echocardiographic imaging, the team Is able to identify optimal treatment strategies and achieve superior outcomes.
DMG’s structural heart disease team includes structural interventionalists Drs. Ulrich Luft, Peter Kerwin and Govind Ramadurai; structural electrophysiologists Drs. Ahmad Abdul-Karim, Eugene Greenstein and Sunil Shroff; structural imaging specialists Drs. Sujith Kalathiveetil, Jordan Weinstein, Kirkeith Lertsburapa and Robert Elgar; and structural coordinators Kim Crosby, APN, Sara Horvath, APN and Patricia Peterson, APN, NP‑C.
One of the advanced treatment options provided by DMG’s structural heart disease program specialists is TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement). Aortic stenosis is caused by narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve, which can be fatal if left untreated. TAVR is specifically designed for those individuals who are at an increased risk for complications from the traditionally performed, and more invasive, SAVR (surgical aortic valve replacement). In fact, TAVR may be the only treatment option available in high-risk patients with aortic stenosis.
Since the program’s launch in 2015, DMG Drs. Peter Kerwin, Ulrich Luft, Sujith Kalathiveetil, Govind Ramadurai and Robert Elgar have performed 163 TAVR procedures. DMG’s structural heart disease team has a TAVR survival rate of 99.3 percent, which exceeds nationally published benchmarks.
To determine whether a patient is a candidate for TAVR, a structural heart team comprised of an interventional cardiologist, cardiac surgeon, cardiac imaging specialist and TAVR coordinator will all carefully evaluate the patient, determining the severity of the aortic stenosis and the safest strategy to treat it.
In addition to TAVR, DMG’s structural heart disease program also offers an alternative procedure for patients suffering with atrial fibrillation through WATCHMAN™. Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm, which can cause life-threatening strokes. Blood thinning medications are used to prevent strokes in atrial fibrillation, but can cause serious bleeding in some patients. WATCHMAN™ is a one-time, minimally invasive treatment to prevent strokes from atrial fibrillation in patients who are at an increased risk for bleeding. WATCHMAN™ is the only FDA-approved implant proven to reduce the risk of stroke for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. WATCHMAN™ works by blocking access to the left atrial appendage (LAA), which is located inside the left atrium of the heart. Research shows that more than 90 percent of stroke-causing blood clots originate in the LAA for individuals with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. WATCHMAN™ was recently shown to both reduce stroke and mortality when compared to blood-thinning medications in patients who are at an increased risk for bleeding.
DMG Drs. Ahmad Abdul-Karim, Govind Ramadurai, and Sunil Shroff perform the Watchman implantation and, over the last two years, have completed more than 40 successful surgeries. Drs. Eugene Greenstein, Ulrich Luft and Sujith Kalathiveetil will begin Watchman implantation this December.
DMG will soon move into new frontiers in structural heart disease therapy. In early 2018, DMG will begin implantation of MITRACLIP™, a minimally invasive treatment for patients with mitral regurgitation, who are deemed high risk for mitral valve surgery. DMG has also successfully performed two transcatheter mitral valve replacements (TMVR) in patients with failing artificial mitral valves. Through its planned continued expansion into 2018, DMG’s structural cardiology program aims to enhance cross-collaboration efforts within the department and to grow the TAVR offering into Chicago’s south suburbs and WATCHMAN™ into the western suburbs, providing cutting-edge structural heart disease treatments to all DMG patients.
“The DMG structural heart disease team strives to provide the very best in cardiac care to its patients and we’ll continue to expand our program,” said DMG Cardiology leadership member, Dr. Sonjai Bhatia. “We are proud to continue cultivating our expertise into the foreseeable future, and execute our procedures with critical precision, achieving high success and low complication rates.”
To learn more about DMG’s structural heart disease program, or to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist to evaluate heart health, patients can visit www.dupagemedicalgroup.com/services/cardiology.
About DuPage Medical Group
Founded in 1999, DuPage Medical Group is the largest independent, multi-specialty physician group with more than 700 physicians in over 100 suburban Chicago locations. DMG is a patient-centered organization focused on improving access to convenient, quality health care using the latest technology and treatment options. For more information, visit www.dupagemedicalgroup.com.