Cardiac

A Hearty Milestone for Sacramento: Over 1,000 Lives Saved with TAVRs

Posted on Dec 17, 2019 in Affiliates, Cardiac, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Uncategorized

A few months ago, 87-year-old Margie Malaspino wouldn’t have been able to play Mrs. Santa for her local Soroptimist event. She was in heart failure due to a constricted aortic heart valve, called aortic stenosis.

“I tired out too easy,” she says. “I had no energy to even walk across the house.” And, way too little energy to play Mrs. Santa for children.

But all that changed by the time Malaspino’s role as Mrs. Santa came earlier this month. She was full of life and all smiles, thanks to a minimally invasive valve replacement known as a TAVR – transcatheter aortic valve replacement – that was performed at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. The hospital was one of the first TAVR centers in the nation, first implanting one in 2012, and in October 2019 became the first center in the Central Valley to perform 1,000 TAVR procedures. Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento has performed the most TAVRs in the greater region and is in the top five in the state, according to the TAVR’s maker, Edwards Lifesciences.

TAVR is performed without the need for open-heart surgery to replace a narrowed aortic valve. A team of interventional cardiologists and heart surgeons work side-by-side to thread a catheter containing the new valve through a vein and expanding it once it’s in place. It originally was used just in older patients – usually those in their 80s and 90s – and others who may be too weak to have an open-chest surgery. Just this year, it was approved by the FDA for standard-risk patients, too.

The TAVR team at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento has since pioneered several improvements to the TAVR procedure. Among them: In 2015 the team was the first in Sacramento and one of the first nationally to perform TAVR using conscious sedation rather than general anesthesia, providing inherent benefits to these elderly and frail patients, and in 2018 the team was the first in the Central Valley to perform an innovative catheter procedure called BASILICA followed by a TAVR, successfully preventing an often-fatal complication of a valve-in-valve replacement.

“We are so proud to be able to give people their lives back with this procedure,” said Thomas Rhodes, R.N., administrative director of cardiovascular services at Sutter Medical Center. “Margaret’s story is one of many successes that we love to hear. We have an incredible team devoted to improving our patients’ lives.”

Just two weeks after the procedure, Margie was back on the go, thanks to the team at Sutter Medical Center. Not only did she play Mrs. Santa, she is back calling bingo at least once a month and going out with her friends to dance and listen to music.

“She has a better social life than I do,” said her granddaughter, Erica. “She runs circles around her five great-grandsons.”

Margie Malaspino didn’t miss a beat as she once again played Mrs. Santa at her Soroptimist event in Jackson, Calif.

Sacramentan Still Going Strong 25 Years After Heart Transplant

Posted on Nov 1, 2019 in Cardiac, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – When Mick Doughty, 68, was put on the heart transplant list in the 1990s, Sutter pioneering heart surgeon Paul Kelly, M.D., said a new heart would extend Mick’s life by 10 years … 20 years at the most.

“I told him, ‘Oh, I’ve got to beat that.’” Doughty says with a smile.

It’s now been 25 years since his transplant, and Doughty credits his longevity to the incredible care he’s received at Sutter Medical Center, close to his home in Sacramento.

To celebrate Doughty’s milestone, the Sutter Heart Transplant Program at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, threw the native Irishman a party and presented him with a few gifts, including a new “Irish ticker” to replace the one that was taken out: a pocket watch from Ireland.

During the event, which also featured talks by Dr. Kelly – who began Sacramento’s only heart transplant program in 1989 – and the current medical and surgical directors of the program, John Chin, M.D., and Robert Kincade, M.D., Mick entertained the audience with funny stories in his Irish brogue. The physicians say that Mick has done everything he’s had to do to ensure a long life, and that includes his sense of humor.

“He does everything he is supposed to do” to keep himself healthy, says Dr. Kincade. “And he’s just a character, he’s the life of the party.”

The Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento Heart Transplant Program, the only heart transplant center in the Central Valley, has consistently shown quality measures that are among the best in the nation, and Doughty’s longevity is living proof of that quality.

In the 30 years, the cardiac surgeons, cardiologists and care teams at Sutter Medical Center have transplanted 216 heart patients throughout Northern California to incredible success. Doughty is one of a handful of their patients who have reached the 25-year mark. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average life expectancy for a heart transplant is 9.16 years, and a relative few live past 20 years with a new heart. With his active lifestyle, Doughty believes he’ll outlive the current Guinness world record holder, who lived 34 years with his new heart.

“People ask me all the time how I’m feeling, and I say, ‘Never better,’” Doughty says.

“That’s what it’s all about, giving people back their lives, and giving people a quality of life,” says Dr. Chin. “It’s very, very gratifying. It’s why we do this.”

When asked what 25 more years of life have given him, Doughty started to list off a number of family and professional events, including his 25th wedding anniversary, his children’s graduations, his son’s wedding, being named “Sacramento’s Financial Planner of the Year.” Then he paused and said, “You know what, I think it’s the day to day, waking up every morning, living life – that is as important as all the milestones.” View a news story on Doughty’s party by clicking here.

Mick Doughty, center, thanks Drs. Paul Kelly and John Chin for the heart transplant that has extended his life for 25 years … and counting.

Keeping pace with cardiovascular diseases research

Posted on Sep 3, 2019 in Affiliates, California Pacific Medical Center, Cardiac, Expanding Access, Innovation, Research, Scroll Images

SAN FRANCISCO – For many people, a quickened heart beat is a normal physiologic response to physical activity or stress. But for at least 2.7 million Americans with atrial fibrillation, an abnormal or irregular heartbeat can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications if left untreated. Learn how research at Sutter is helping guide and inform care for patients with this cardiovascular disease.

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29-Year-Old CPMC Heart Transplant Patient Heads Home

Posted on Aug 15, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Cardiac, Quality, Scroll Images

L-R Dr. Michael Pham (Cardiologist), Mitch Peterson, and Dr. Brett Sheridan (Surgeon)

SAN FRANCISCO – At an event on Aug 14, 29-year-old Oakland resident, Mitch Peterson was recognized as CPMC’s 500th heart transplant recipient and celebrated for his speedy recovery. (News story here.) Staff and friends wished Mitch well as he prepared to head home after spending a month in the hospital. Mitch said that he is looking forward to stepping out the doors of the hospital, taking a deep breath and start enjoying the simple things that are often taken for granted. He is also looking forward to a walk around Oakland’s Lake Merritt, which is near his home, and enjoying the active lifestyle he was accustomed to before his illness.

Mitch had a relatively quick recovery after receiving a new heart at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital just on Aug 2. Mitch’s heart failure had gone undiagnosed and symptoms came on quickly in early July resulting in him seeking care at Sutter Health. (Listen to comments from Mitch before surgery)

Mitch’s Journey

When 29 year old Oakland resident Mitch Peterson began experiencing shortness of breath and fatigue in early July, symptoms that he thought were the flu, he had no idea what was ahead. As his symptoms got worse, Mitch decided to get checked out at the emergency department at Sutter’s Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley. It was at Eden that he learned his condition was much more serious than the flu.

The emergency department doctor at Eden told Mitch that he had heart complications and that he needed to be transferred to Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center where an elevated level of cardiac expertise was available to assess the extent of his condition. After spending time at Alta Bates Summit’s Oakland campus, where cardiologists applied medical therapies to stabilize his condition, it was clear that Mitch was suffering heart failure, probably due to damage suffered while undergoing chemotherapy in Wyoming for bone cancer years earlier when he was 13. (It was in Wyoming that he also had a cadaver bone transplant—his first transplant).

The doctors at Alta Bates Summit consulted with cardiologists at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC). Together, they determined that unfortunately, therapies such as medication would not address the heart failure Mitch was experiencing. The specialists told Mitch that his condition was life-threatening and required advanced treatment, possibly even a heart transplant. Mitch soon found himself at CPMC, on the heart donation waiting list and facing heart transplant surgery.

On the afternoon of Friday, August 2, the call came. A heart had become available. Late that evening, Mitch received a heart transplant at CPMC. During the operation, surgeons successfully connected the new donated heart, allowing Mitch to begin recovery and return to the active lifestyle that he once enjoyed.

Mitch has recovered remarkably quickly and will be going home from the hospital on Wednesday, August 14. It was only two days after surgery that he was out of bed on his own and moving around his room, a feat that he was unable to accomplish the week before surgery.

The integrated system of care at Sutter Health allowed for seamless escalation of Mitch’s care to address his congestive heart failure. This seamless coordination of medical and support services from one caregiver to another reduces complications in care, guarantees the continuum of quality and reduces the overall total cost of care. In Mitch’s case, the integrated care offered at Sutter Health was also life-saving.

At Just 29 Years Old, Two-Time Transplant Recipient is Going Home with a New Heart

Posted on Aug 13, 2019 in California Pacific Medical Center, Cardiac, Scroll Images

Sutter’s CPMC celebrates major milestone: Mitch Peterson becomes 500th heart transplant recipient

Mitch Peterson before surgery

SAN FRANCISCO – 29-year-old Oakland resident, Mitch Peterson, is on the fast track to recovery after receiving a new heart at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Van Ness Campus hospital just 10 days ago. Mitch’s heart failure had gone undiagnosed and symptoms came on quickly in early July resulting in him seeking care at Sutter Health. (Listen to comments from Mitch)

Mitch’s Journey

When 29 year old Oakland resident Mitch Peterson began experiencing shortness of breath and fatigue in early July, symptoms that he thought were the flu, he had no idea what was ahead. As his symptoms got worse, Mitch decided to get checked out at the emergency department at Sutter’s Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley. It was at Eden that he learned his condition was much more serious than the flu.

The emergency department doctor at Eden told Mitch that he had heart complications and that he needed to be transferred to Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center where an elevated level of cardiac expertise was available to assess the extent of his condition. After spending time at Alta Bates Summit’s Oakland campus, where cardiologists applied medical therapies to stabilize his condition, it was clear that Mitch was suffering heart failure, probably due to damage suffered while undergoing chemotherapy in Wyoming for bone cancer years earlier when he was 13. (It was in Wyoming that he also had a cadaver bone transplant—his first transplant).

The doctors at Alta Bates Summit consulted with cardiologists at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC). Together, they determined that unfortunately, therapies such as medication would not address the heart failure Mitch was experiencing. The specialists told Mitch that his condition was life-threatening and required advanced treatment, possibly even a heart transplant. Mitch soon found himself at CPMC, on the heart donation waiting list and facing heart transplant surgery.

On the afternoon of Friday, August 2, the call came. A heart had become available. Late that evening, Mitch received a heart transplant at CPMC. During the operation, surgeons successfully connected the new donated heart, allowing Mitch to begin recovery and return to the active lifestyle that he once enjoyed.

Mitch has recovered remarkably quickly and will be going home from the hospital on Wednesday, August 14. It was only two days after surgery that he was out of bed on his own and moving around his room, a feat that he was unable to accomplish the week before surgery.

The integrated system of care at Sutter Health allowed for seamless escalation of Mitch’s care to address his congestive heart failure. This seamless coordination of medical and support services from one caregiver to another reduces complications in care, guarantees the continuum of quality and reduces the overall total cost of care. In Mitch’s case, the integrated care offered at Sutter Health was also life-saving.

Sutter’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program First in Area to Receive National Accreditation

Posted on Apr 12, 2019 in Cardiac, Innovation, Scroll Images, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Sutter Medical Foundation, Uncategorized

The Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento Adult Congenital Heart Disease team includes ACHD Medical Director Pei-Hsiu Huang, M.D., right, and ACHD Clinic Coordinator Zilda Crist, left. They are shown with Chelsea Byrnes, who was born with a rare condition and was told she could never have children. She now has given birth twice at Sutter Medical Center, thanks to the advanced care of the ACHD team.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In recognition of its expertise in serving adults with congenital heart disease (CHD), Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento earned accreditation from the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA), a nationwide organization focused on connecting patients, family members and healthcare providers to form a community of support and a network of experts with knowledge of CHD.

Individuals with CHD, the most common birth defect diagnosed in one in 100 births, are living longer. There are 1.4 million adults in the U.S. living with one of many different types of congenital heart defects, ranging among simple, moderate and complex.

“We find that patients born with a heart defect who have graduated from the care of a pediatric cardiologist frequently do not continue their care with a cardiologist with specific expertise in treating adults with congenital heart disease, and sometimes do not have a cardiologist at all,” said Pei-Hsiu Huang, M.D., medical director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program and Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. “As Sacramento’s first and only adult congenital heart disease program, we are excited to be recognized by the ACHA for providing ACHD patients, many of whom may not otherwise be seeing a cardiologist regularly, the best and most appropriate care.”

Pediatric Heart Surgeon Teimour Nasirov, M.D., left, is a member of the Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento ACHD team. In 2018, Dr. Nasirov repaired RJ Laffins’ atrial septal defect, which went undetected for 55 years. Laffins, right, is now winning cycling races thanks to his increased energy after the surgery.

The ACHA accreditation program aims to improve the quality of care ACHD patients receive by introducing standards for the infrastructure and the type of care ACHD programs provide. The Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program received accreditation by meeting ACHA’s criteria, which includes medical services and personnel requirements, and going through a rigorous accreditation process, both of which were developed over a number of years through a collaboration with doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, and ACHD patients.

“There are now more adults than children in the U.S. with CHD,” said Mark Roeder, President and CEO of ACHA. “Accreditation will elevate the standard of care and have a positive impact on the futures of those living with this disease. Coordination of care is key, and this accreditation program will make care more streamlined for ACHD patients, improving their quality of life.”

There are now 27 ACHA ACHD Accredited programs throughout the United States. The only other programs in California outside the greater Sacramento area that have been accredited are at UCLA and Stanford.

The Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento provides comprehensive cardiovascular care throughout a patient’s life. Specialized multisciplinary teams combine the resources and clinical expertise including high-risk obstetrics services and pediatric cardiovascular program, the comprehensive adult cardiovascular program including the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program. Pediatric and adult heart disease specialists include board certified cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, obstetricians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, nurses, registered dietitians, financial coordinators, pharmacists and genetic counselors.

About the Adult Congenital Heart Association

The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life and extending the lives of adults with congenital heart disease (CHD). ACHA serves and supports the more than one million adults with CHD, their families and the medical community—working with them to address the unmet needs of the long-term survivors of congenital heart defects through education, outreach, advocacy, and promotion of ACHD research. For more information about ACHA, contact 888-921-ACHA or visit www.ACHAHeart.org.

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The ACHA ACHD Accreditation Program was partially funded by Actelion Pharmaceuticals U.S., Inc. ACHA and Actelion Pharmaceuticals have partnered together since 2007 to support the CHD community.

For more information about ACHA, or to schedule an interview with Mark Roeder, please contact Terri Schaefer at 215-849-1260 or tschaefer@achaheart.org.