Published on October 09, 2017

A leader in cardiovascular medicine

Medicine has seen some major breakthroughs in treating heart disease within the last decade—and many of those breakthroughs are available at St. Mary Medical Center.

“We’ve been on the forefront of technology at St. Mary,” says Richard Leshner, DO, Chief of Cardiology at St. Mary. “It’s allowed us to offer new options to people who may not have had options before.”

Here are two of those game changers offered at St. Mary:

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)

With this procedure, doctors repair a defective aortic heart valve without surgery. Instead, they guide a catheter (flexible tube) through a blood vessel and use it to put a new heart valve in place.

Initially, TAVR provided a new option for many older adults with aortic stenosis (a stuck heart valve) for whom open-heart surgery was considered too risky. It gave them a chance at a longer life. Since then, the procedure has been expanded to younger patients whose health puts them at high risk for surgery.

Watchman device

This device helps prevent strokes in people with an irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation (AF), who can’t take blood thinners because of their higher risk of bleeding—a possible side effect of the medication. The Watchman device closes off the left atrium, a part of the heart where clots tend to form in people with AF. This helps prevent strokes and allows candidates to safely go off their blood thinners.

Those are just two examples of cardiovascular breakthroughs. In the future, you can expect St. Mary to help pioneer even more.

“The success of St. Mary’s cardiovascular program is based upon a commitment by the physicians and the administration to bring together the resources needed to be on the forefront of care,” Dr. Leshner says.