Pediatric doctors help plug leak in adult heart valve
An elderly heart patient proved to be a child at heart when several pediatric heart specialists were asked to join their adult colleagues in a non-surgical procedure to plug the patient’s leaky heart valve. The patient’s advanced years and multiple other health problems had made standard heart surgery too risky, leaving a minimally invasive approach as the safest treatment option.
The pediatric specialists were asked to participate in the procedure because of their experience in working minimally invasively to correct defects and structural problems within the confined spaces of a child’s tiny heart, says Dr. Anupama Shivaraju, adult interventional cardiologist affiliated with the Advocate Heart Institute at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill.
“Their ability to thread small catheters into difficult places within the pediatric heart was the kind of experience we needed to help address and treat our adult patient’s heart problem,” says Dr. Shivaraju.
The patient had already undergone valve replacement and bypass surgery several months earlier, but later developed a paravalvular leak – a small opening between the upper and lower chambers of the heart around the outside of the replacement mitral valve. The leak was preventing the valve from closing tightly enough, resulting in regurgitation, a condition in which blood flows backward in the heart.
Dr. Shivaraju and Dr. Dhaval Patel, a pediatric interventional cardiologist, led the medical center’s team of five heart physicians (two adult and three pediatric specialists) in performing the minimally invasive, two-hour procedure to stop the leak.
Pooling the experiences and skills of both adult and pediatric heart doctors offers new opportunities for treating difficult heart problems in patients whose age or condition makes standard surgical interventions too risky, says Dr. Surendra B. Avula, adult interventional cardiologist, and Dr. Alexander Javois, pediatric interventional cardiologist, who were part of Christ Medical Center’s combined team.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.