Joseph L. Fredi, MD, FACC, interventional cardiologist with Willis-Knighton Physician Network and Pierremont Cardiology, has performed the first transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement in the region. The minimally invasive procedure was performed in WK Heart & Vascular Institute’s hybrid suite on a 26-year-old patient who was being treated by Latif Bikak, MD, of Willis-Knighton Cardiology, for endocarditis of the pulmonary valve. The patient had received heart surgery at age 1 and again at age 19 in 2013.
Typically, transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement is performed on children or young adults who have had surgical repair of the heart due to congenital heart disease. Because all surgically implanted valves have a limited lifespan, patients often need multiple surgeries over the course of their lives to replace the pulmonary valve.
“When performed in adults, the procedure is usually in patients with congenital disease who have become adults,” Dr. Fredi says. “Adult congenital heart disease is a growing population of patients because advances in care of the pediatric patients with CHD (means they now) are now surviving into adulthood.”
During the procedure, a bioprosthetic valve is threaded through a balloon catheter placed through a small incision into the femoral vein (groin). It is guided to the heart and once in the correct position, the balloon is inflated, and the new valve implanted into its final location. The new valve begins to work immediately, and the catheter is removed.
The transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement is life-changing for these patients because doctors can save them operations, scars, long hospital stays and all the risks that go with open heart surgeries.
“Being able to offer procedures such as this, and others, expands the structural interventional services that Willis-Knighton can provide to patients in this region,” Dr. Fredi says. “At WK, the structural cardiac interventional team is able to provide treatment options to a larger and more diverse patient population. We remain at the forefront of cardiac services that can be performed in this region.”