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Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Medical Center becomes first in Texas to test hybrid design carotid stent

St. Luke’s Medical Center announced that they have treated the first eight patients in Texas in a multi-center, clinical trial of a new carotid artery stent that can be used as an alternative to surgery, in surgical highrisk patients with potentially stroke-causing carotid artery disease.

In partnership with W. L. Gore & Associates (GORE), physicians at St. Luke’s in affiliation with THI, are participating in the Gore SCAFFOLD clinical trial. This national study compares the outcomes of patients treated with the GORE SCAFFOLD Carotid Stent versus performance data from carotid artery surgery outcomes. The study will include up to 50 centers in the United States, including THI at St. Luke’s, and will enroll approximately 312 patients. The national co-principal investigators are Peter Schneider, MD, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Honolulu; and William Gray, MD, Columbia University Medical Center.

“In times of uncertainty regarding optimal treatment for patients with high surgical risks, it’s important to evaluate unique treatment options,” said Dr. Schneider.

“The new Gore device is designed to be flexible, offer plaque retention and stabilization benefits, and along with bound heparin, which may provide advantages for improved patient outcomes,” said Zvonimir Krajcer, MD, Principal Investigator for the SCAFFOLD study at St. Luke’s and Co-Director of Peripheral Vascular Disease Services at THI. Sub-Investigators also participating in the study are Neil Strickman, MD, THI Co-Director of Peripheral Vascular Disease Services and Surendra Jain, MD.

Carotid artery disease is caused by buildup of plaque in the carotid arteries on each side of the neck. These arteries supply the brain with oxygen-rich blood. Stenosis, or narrowing, of these arteries can lead to stroke, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Historically, the most common treatment for carotid artery disease has been carotid endarterectomy (CEA) a type of surgery performed to remove the plaque from inside the artery. THI surgeons have performed more than 8,000 CEAs to date. THI cardiologists have been studying alternative treatments for carotid disease for more than 15 years and have more performed more than 1,200 carotid stent procedures to date.

St. Luke’s Medical Center is first in Texas to use the FDA-Cleared FIRMap ™ Catheter in the treatment of atrial fibrillation

St. Luke’s Medical Center announced that it’s the first hospital in Texas to begin treating patients who suffer from arrhythmia―more specifically atrial fibrillation (AFib)―with a new procedure that features the FDAcleared FIRMap Catheter.

To effectively treat heart rhythm abnormalities, the source of the problem must be identified. SLMC employs a revolutionary 3-D heart mapping technology, which pinpoints the source of the electrical impulses disrupting the heart’s normal rhythm―allowing for more effective diagnosis of and treatment planning for a variety of arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, atrial tachycardia, and ventricular tachycardia.

“This is an exciting and new technology for mapping what is a complex arrhythmia, which has the potential to revolutionize the approach for atrial fibrillation” said Abdi Rasekh, MD, FACC, St. Luke’s Medical Center. “Under the leadership of Dr. Ali Massumi, Dr. Mehdi Razavi and I, we have performed five successful rounds of procedures with favorable results.”

The FIRMap Catheter, developed by Topera, Inc., is an innovative medical device that allows doctors to view specific areas in the heart, which could sustain an arrhythmia. This device, along with a groundbreaking 3D mapping system, has become essential when performing the progressive procedure known as FIRM Guided ablation, which strives to detect mechanisms causing the issue.

Through adoption and implementation of the FIRM Guided ablation procedure, patients with AFib will now be able to save valuable time by reducing physician visits and complement the use of alternative procedures, such as pulmonary vein isolation (PVI). The precision of the procedure ultimately aims to diminish recurrence rates among patients, thus generating a major feat in arrhythmia technology today.

Currently, there are various practices and developments intending to treat AFib. However, FIRM ablation seeks to obtain a more efficient treatment process for patients resulting in sustainably improved outcomes. The precision of the procedure allows doctors to pinpoint causes of AFib and reduce re-ablation rates for patients.

“We recognized that a large number of patients were having to seek care outside of our community due to the lack of local cardiovascular services,” said Shannon Brown, Chief Executive Officer at Huntsville Memorial Hospital. Having the treatments available closer will make patients’ lives much easier, eliminating delays and inconvenience for patients and families. Now, patients in need of catherization, peripheral vein studies, as well as interventional procedures will receive comprehensive care right here at home.”

“This joint venture marks a milestone for Huntsville Memorial Hospital, the local community and area Cardiovascular Physicians who are committed to patient quality, safety, and efficiency”, said Dr. Urmil Shukla, General and Vascular Surgeon.

David Prier, Hospital Board Chairman and local Primary Care Physician. “The opening of this beautiful facility marks an important milestone for the advancement of cardiovascular care in our area. It’s a real game changer.”