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Holy Cross Cardiovascular Blog

Holy Cross Hospital's Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center Performs its First Atrial Septal Defect Closure

  • Posted Jan 22, 2013
  • By Holy Cross Administrator

Interventional/Structural cardiologist Alexander Llanos, M.D. recently performed the first Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) Closure procedure at the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale.

Margate resident Joanne Alleva, 49,  successfully underwent the new procedure used to repair a congenital heart defect consisting of an opening between the upper chambers of the heart (Atria) that allows blood to abnormally flow between those two chambers and can lead to congestive heart failure.

"[Before] it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I was so tired," said Alleva. "[After the procedure] I didn't have the heaviness. I was so thrilled. Now, I feel great."

The new technique eliminates the need for cardiac surgery and involves delivering a specialized ASD closure device.  First, a catheter is inserted into a vein in the groin. The device is then guided into place through the catheter by a combination of ultrasound and fluoroscopic imaging technology. After closure is verified, the catheter is removed from the vein in the groin leaving the ASD closure device securely in place. Patients can typically return home the day following the procedure.

“This procedure usually results in a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery with similar efficacy compared to previous treatment methods which involve invasive heart surgery," Dr. Llanos said.

The procedure was performed as part of the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center's Valve and Structural Heart Disease Clinic which is led by expert cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons that use a multi-disciplinary approach to provide several treatment options for patients with complex disease of the cardiac valves (stenosis, regurgitation), abnormal communications between cardiac chambers (Atrial septal defect, patent foramen ovale, ventricular septal defect, patent ductus arteriosus, paravalvular leaks), emerging therapies for atrial fibrillation as well as a number of other cardiac disorders.

In addition to catheter based techniques, the team at Holy Cross provides advanced treatment options which include minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery as well as the standard surgical therapies.

The Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center at Holy Cross Hospital features a new, 2,000-square-foot hybrid operating room (Combination of full cardiac catheterization laboratory and full operating room) offering a state of the art facility for performance of these cutting-edge procedures. Recognized as a leader in cardiac care, Holy Cross also offers progressive research at the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Research Institute. The Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center at Holy Cross Hospital, located at 4725 North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, offers a wide array of diagnostic services including EKG, stress tests, Holter monitoring, tilt table testing, echocardiography, cardiac catheterization, peripheral angiography, peripheral vascular ultrasound and comprehensive electrophysiologic testing.  For more information call (954) 229-7970 or visit www.holycrossheart.com.

Watch the video of our physicians explaining Atrial Septal Defect, ASD closure, and our patient shares her experience with you:


High-Risk Patients Now Eligible for Transcatheter Heart Valve Replacements

  • Posted Dec 12, 2012
  • By Holy Cross Administrator
Artificial Valve on Balloon

 

Holy Cross Hospital is now performing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures for patients who have been deemed too high-risk to undergo open heart surgery.  The implantations are now done transfemorally (via the leg) and transapically (through the ribs).

 The announcement came following an approval by the Food and Drug Administration that considerably broadens the group that can now be treated with the leading-edge surgical procedure.

Previously, it was approved in the U.S. only for the treatment of inoperable patients via the transfemoral approach.

 “There can be many factors which bar a patient from cardiac surgery or make it a high risk such as age, inability to withstand rehabilitation and other medical conditions the patient may have,” said Interventional Cardiologist Joshua Purow, M.D., of the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center and Research Institute at Holy Cross Hospital. “Now more patients will have access to this life-changing procedure."

In May 2012, Holy Cross began utilizing the new Edwards Lifesciences' Sapien heart valve, the only FDA-approved TAVR therapy in the U.S.  The valve is designed to replace a patient’s diseased native aortic valve without the need for open-chest surgery and without stopping the patient’s heart. 

The TAVR procedure enables the placement of a collapsible aortic heart valve into the body via a tube based delivery system that is inserted through either an incision in the leg and threaded up to the heart, or through an incision between the ribs and inserted through the narrow, bottom end of the heart called the apex. 

To accommodate TAVR implantations, Holy Cross constructed a new, 2,000-square-foot hybrid interventional operating room. The expansive operating room offers physicians advanced technology to perform leading-edge procedures, including endovascular stent (abdominal & thoracic), balloon valvuplasty, lead extraction, surgical cardiac ablation, bypass LAD with stent, and ASD & PFO closures.

Recognized as a leader in cardiac care, Holy Cross Hospital offers comprehensive cardiac services through the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center and progressive research at the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Research Institute.  

The Valve and Structural Heart Disease Clinic at the Holy Cross Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center, located at 4725 North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, provides multi-disciplinary evaluation for patients with severe aortic stenosis by a team of cardiovascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists, echo cardiologist and imaging specialists. The Clinic’s comprehensive evaluation includes a functional assessment, transesophageal echocardiography, CT angiography with a 256-slice scanner and cardiac angiography.  The team gathers weekly to discuss each patient’s medical status and makes a recommendation on the most appropriate treatment option: traditional open-heart or minimally invasive surgery, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or medical management.

For more information call (954) 229-7974 or visit www.holycrossheart.com.


Physician in a Combat Zone

  • Posted Aug 29, 2012
  • Vicente Font, MD, FACP, FCCP, FACC


Col. Vicente Font, MD presenting Holy Cross Hospital president and CEO Patrick Taylor, MD with the U.S. flag that was flown in Afghanistan on July 4, 2012

Deploying to a Combat Zone The TV show MASH gave us a biased view of military doctors. On one hand, it described the stories of surgeons who did not volunteer but were drafted into a war zone. Second, it was both comedy and anti-war satire. Lastly, and as everything else, the military changes with time: the traditional Mobile Army Surgical Hospital no longer exists (phased out 6-7 years ago) and was replaced with a smaller, more efficient system of treating battlefield casualties.

In reality, only a small proportion of military physicians are deployed to war zones, and depending on the mission (i.e. needs of the military), the doctor may end up serving in a variety of venues, like hospitals, forward surgical teams, medical clinics, battle aid stations or even perhaps providing administrative and leadership skills like in a medical command position. The patients also, may vary among American troops, allied forces, civilians and local nationals.

My deployment to Afghanistan consisted of 3 months “boots to ground,” but effectively, it started about four to six months prior to my travels since there was much training to do before leaving home. Endless online training sessions and classes are required to assure that you at least know some basics like certain important rules and legal topics. There was also a trip to San Antonio, TX to complete a week course in combat casualty care.

Leaving home is never an easy task, but I think that it is easier having been deployed before (Iraq 2008-2009) and even being a little older than the average soldier helps reduce the stress. My trip started by flying to Ft. Benning, GA, where I joined other medical personnel being mobilized to different parts of the world. We spent a few days of additional training, medical checkups, etc. and from there we took a plane that flew us into Kuwait for a few more days. Eventually, I made it to a small base outside of Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan where I would serve as Battalion Surgeon for a military police battalion.

I did not go as a cardiologist on this trip but as a general medical officer where we took care of many different medical problems. Complicated cases could also be transferred to a nearby hospital if necessary. Regardless, the quality of the medical care rendered was excellent.

During the deployment, I shared a tent with four other medical and dental officers (there were two more physicians and two more dentists on post, as well as a few physician assistants and nurse practitioners). Now, we are talking austere conditions here. The bathroom facilities were only a short walk away. And of course, as a reminder that we were in a combat zone, a bomb shelter sat conveniently near our sleeping quarters. There was a gym, a dining facility, a recreation building, a barbershop and a small PX store. For those with fast food cravings, there was a small Burger King and Pizza Hut trailer.

When my time was up, I went through the reverse process to get back home: Kuwait then Ft. Benning then Florida.

To me, my deployment to a war zone was a humbling experience that allowed me to grow as a person and as a professional. I can say that the experience was spiritually uplifting, and despite the austere and dangerous environment, I feel proud and honored to be given an opportunity to serve my country in this chapter of our American history.

I only hope that the readers will keep in thought and prayer all of the young men and women in all branches of the Armed Forces who are presently deployed and committed to this selfless sacrifice in the defense of our freedom and to the protection of the world against terrorists.

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Six Cardiologists Join Holy Cross Medical Group

  • Posted Jul 25, 2012
  • By Holy Cross Administrator

L to R: Robert Singal, MD; Alan Buhler, MD; Murry Drescher, MD; Robert Kersh, MD; Joel Shulman, MD; and Sam Sareh, MD

The six board-certified cardiologists of Cardio Pulmonary Associates in Plantation have joined the Holy Cross Medical Group, a multi-specialty physician employed group of more than 150 physicians providing services throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties. The cardiologists joining Holy Cross Medical Group are Alan Buhler, M.D.; Murry Drescher, M.D.; Robert Kersh, M.D.; Sam Sareh, M.D.; Robert Samuel Singal, M.D.; and Joel Shulman, M.D. All are experts in the diagnosis, treatment and management of all cardiovascular diseases including coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, valvular disorders, arrhythmias, hypertension and vascular disease.

"We welcome this stellar team of cardiologists to Holy Cross,” said Holy Cross Hospital President and CEO Patrick A. Taylor, M.D. “They join a group of physicians that are dedicated to clinical excellence and compassionate care. Our comprehensive cardiac services include leading edge technology, state-of-the-art procedures and groundbreaking clinical trials.”

Board-certified in cardiology and internal medicine, Dr. Buhler is a member of the American Medical Association, Florida Medical Association and Broward County Medical Association and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He received his medical degree from State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, and his bachelor's degree from State University of New York, Harpur College. He completed a fellowship in cardiology, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, and his residency and internship in internal medicine at Downstate Medical Center - Kings County Medical Center. He also served as captain in the United States Air Force Medical Corp. for two years.

Dr. Drescher is board-certified in cardiology and internal medicine and is a diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners. Licensed in nuclear medicine, he is a member of the American Heart Association, Florida Medical Association and Broward County Medical Association and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He is the recipient of multiple awards and honors and is frequently asked to speak at national meetings and conferences. Dr. Drescher received his medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and his bachelor's degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He completed fellowships in cardiology and critical care and his residency and internship in internal medicine at University of Miami-affiliated hospitals.

Certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners, the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians, Dr. Kersh also is board-certified in cardiovascular disease. He is a member of the American Medical Association and the American Society of Echocardiography and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Kersh received his medical degree from New York Medical Collegeand his bachelor's degree from the Stevens Institute of Technology. He completed a fellowship in cardiology at Medical College of Pennsylvania and his residency and internship in internal medicine at Nassau County Medical Center.

Dr. Sam Sareh is board-certified in internal medicine and basic and advanced cardiac life support. He received his medical degree and bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and completed his residency and fellowship in cardiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was involved in several research trials. He is fluent in Persian and Spanish.

A board-certified cardiologist, Dr. Shulman is a member of the American Medical Association, Broward County Medical Association, Florida Medical Association, American College of Physicians and the American College of Cardiology. He received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School and his bachelor's degree from Wayne State University. He completed his post-graduate training at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio and at the University of Miami.

Dr. Singal is certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Internal Medicine in cardiology and internal medicine. He is a member of the American College of Physicians, American College of Cardiology, Broward County Medical Association, Florida Society of Internal Medicine, American Society of Internal Medicine, American Society of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. He received his medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine and his bachelor's degree from the University of Florida. He completed a fellowship in cardiology at the University of Miami / Jackson Medical Center and his residency and internship at the medical college of Georgia.

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Michael Weinblatt, MD: His Road from Basic Science to Cardiology

  • Posted Jul 11, 2012
  • By Holy Cross Administrator

Learn about Michael Weinblatt, MD, a cardiologist with the Holy Cross Medical Group. Dr. Weinblatt currently practices with The Heart Group, which has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Pompano Beach, Florida. Dr. Weinblatt shares how his interests went from basic science, to medicine, to cardiology.


For more information on Dr. Weinblatt, visit his online physician profile
by clicking here: Michael Weinblatt, MD.


Learn more about the Holy Cross heart team by visiting www.holycrossheart.com.

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Holy Cross Medical Group Welcomes Aristides Zacharoudis, MD (Cardiology)

  • Posted Jun 27, 2012
  • By Holy Cross Administrator

Holy Cross Hospital President and CEO Patrick A. Taylor, M.D. announced that Aristides Zacharoudis, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.P. has joined the Holy Cross Medical Group, a multi-specialty physician employed group of more than 150 physicians providing services throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Dr. Zacharoudis is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease. Prior to joining the Holy Cross Medical Group, he was in private practice. Dr. Zacharoudis also serves as a clinical assistant professor in the cardiology division of the internal medicine department at the Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

A resident of Fort Lauderdale, Dr. Zacharoudis is a member of the American Society of Internal Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He has been published in numerous medical journals, is a former Chief of Medicine at Holy Cross Hospital and has served on several medical committees for Holy Cross, North Ridge Medical Center and Imperial Point Medical Center.

Dr. Zacharoudis completed a fellowship in interventional cardiology and an internal medicine residency at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.  He completed his cardiology fellowship at Long Island College Hospital, also in Brooklyn. In addition, Dr. Zacharoudis had further cardiology training at Mount Sinai Medical Center and Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. He received his M.D. from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Mexico, finished his medical education at Downstate Medical Center and also holds an M.D. degree from the State University of New York in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Learn more about the Holy Cross heart team at www.HolyCrossHeart.com.

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TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement) and the Valve and Structural Heart Disease Clinic at Holy Cross Hospital

  • Posted Jun 20, 2012
  • By Holy Cross Administrator

The Holy Cross Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center houses our Valve and Structural Heart Disease Clinic, which evaluates our patients to determine their eligibility for the TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement) procedure.

According to Chloe Lebron, MSN, RN Valve and Structural Heart Disease Clinic Coordinator:

The Valve & Structural Heart Disease Clinic at Holy Cross Hospital provides multi-      disciplinary evaluation for patients with severe aortic stenosis by a team of       cardiovascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists, echo cardiologist and imaging      specialists.  Our comprehensive evaluation includes a functional assessment,      transesophageal echocardiography, CT angiography with a 256-slice scanner,      pulmonary function tests and cardiac angiography.  The team gathers weekly to      discuss each patient’s aortic valve characteristics, vasculature, aortic dimensions,      surgical risk and potential for quality of life improvement, and makes a      recommendation as to their most appropriate treatment option: traditional open-heart      or minimally invasive surgery, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or medical      management.

In the following video, our physicians explain this cutting-edge procedure, including an animation of how the procedure is performed. One of our patients, General John Studds (a retired Marine Major General) discusses his experience with the procedure and with Holy Cross Hospital.


Alexander Llanos, MD: Cardiology, Technological Advancements and How I Came to Holy Cross

  • Posted Jun 13, 2012
  • By Holy Cross Administrator

Alexander Llanos, MD is the newest member of the Holy Cross Medical Group Cardiology Associates of Fort Lauderdale practice. Learn about what attracted him to the field of cardiology, recent technological advancements and why he chooses to practice at Holy Cross Hospital.

Learn more about the Holy Cross heart team by visiting HolyCrossHeart.com.

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First TAVR Procedures in Broward County, Florida Successfully Performed at Holy Cross Hospital

  • Posted Jun 06, 2012
  • By Holy Cross Administrator

First in Broward County: Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) at Holy Cross Hospital

In keeping with Holy Cross Hospital’s tradition of innovation and excellent care, we are proud to announce that Broward County’s first Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacements (TAVR) were performed in the Holy Cross Hybrid Operating Room in May 2012. Do you have patients (or are you a patient) with severe symptomatic Aortic Stenosis (AS) who cannot undergo open heart surgery? With advances in heart valve technology, our team of physicians has demonstrated successful outcomes through collaboration and teamwork.

In a team effort by interventional cardiac catheterization, Open Heart and Valve Clinic staff, along with the following physicians, successfully performed these procedures: Irving David, MD and Harold Roberts, MD (Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgeons); Alan Niederman, MD, Joshua Purrow, MD and Alexander Llanos, MD (Interventional Cardiologists); Andrew Mangum, MD and Jody Heriot, CRNA (Anesthesia).

The recently completed PARTNER Trial found that in patients with severe AS who were not suitable candidates for surgery, TAVR , as compared with standard therapy, significantly reduced the rates of death from any cause, the composite end point of death from any cause or repeat hospitalization, and cardiac symptoms. In our new, state-of-the-art hybrid interventional operating room, patients now have the optimal, safest environment for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement.

Congratulations and thank you to our TAVR team for keeping Holy Cross in the forefront of cardiovascular care.

Learn more about the Holy Cross heart team by visiting www.holycrossheart.com.


Five Things to Know About Arrhythmias

  • Posted May 31, 2012
  • By Holy Cross Administrator

By the time the average person reaches age 70, his or her heart will have beaten more than 2.5 billion times.

Because the heart works so hard, perhaps it's not surprising that some people's hearts may occasionally beat irregularly. A problem with the rhythmic beating of the heart is known as an arrhythmia.

Here are five quick facts about this common condition:

1. There are different kinds of arrhythmias. Common types include bradycardia—when the heart's electrical impulses occur too slowly; tachycardia—when they occur too rapidly; and fibrillation—when the heart quivers.

2. Arrhythmias can occur in a healthy heart and be harmless, or they may indicate a serious problem that can lead to heart disease, stroke or sudden cardiac death. That's why it's important for your doctor to investigate all heart rhythm disorders.  Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiologists are cardiologists who have further specialized in the management and treatment of arrhythmias.

3. Most serious arrhythmias affect people older than 60. Major risk factors include heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea and thyroid problems. Smoking, drinking alcohol and consuming too much caffeine also can play a part.

4. Long-lasting arrhythmias may cause fatigue, dizziness, light-headedness, palpitations, fainting, heart pounding, shortness of breath and chest pain.

5. When the heart isn't beating correctly and pumping blood as it should, the lungs, brain and other organs may not work properly.

Below is a video from the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center on Atrial Fibrillation and Cardiac Electrophysiology:

At Holy Cross Hospital, we have the latest technology available such as 3D mapping and rotational angiography which help reduce radiation exposure. Learn more about the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center and our heart team by visiting HolyCrossHeart.com.

References: American Heart Association; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute  


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This blog was archived on June 14, 2016. New blogs are being posted to The Medical Insider Blog


About the Center

The Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center at Holy Cross offers the latest in high-tech cardiac care. Holy Cross was the first in Broward County to offer Induced Hypothermia, which has shown to increase the odds of surviving cardiac arrest, and has been shown to improve neurological outcomes after such an event. We were also the first in Florida to use the Prime ECG Vest which, in select patients, may give physicians additional data beyond a traditional electrocardiogram. Our outstanding cardiovascular team, utilizing cutting-edge technology, can treat any heart and vascular situation especially in an emergency.

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