Sunday, May 20, 2012

First Successful Trans-Catheter Aortic Valve Replacement Procedures Performed in the Region

I am pleased to report that our collaborative heart valve team at Lehigh Valley Health Network successfully performed the first two trans-catheter aortic valve replacement procedures in the region on Wednesday, May 16, 2012.

Trans-catheter aortic valve surgery ( is a new procedure recently approved for commercial use in November 2011.  The technique allows us to place a bio-prosthetic (tissue) aortic valve into a patient who is considered too high risk for conventional open heart surgery.  Lehigh Valley Health Network is one of the first hospitals in the country to be trained to perform this life-saving procedure.  Many people refer to this procedure as "Percutaneous Valve Surgery" because the procedure is performed by placing catheters in the femoral arteries instead of opening the chest --similar to placing a stent to open up a blockage in the coronary arteries.

Both patients are doing very well.  Each procedure took approximately 2 hours and both patients were awake and breathing on their own in the operating room at the conclusion of the procedure.  Most of all, both patients tell us that after years of suffering, they can finally breath well and have no further chest pain.

Below is a picture of our collaborative heart valve team outside our hybrid operating room after the two successful procedures were completed.

Dr. David Cox (Interventional Cardiology), Dr. Pat Kleaveland (Interventional Cardiology), Dr. Ray Singer (Cardiac Surgery), Dr. Wilson Szeto (Cardiac Surgery from University of Pennsylvania), Dr. Bill Combs (Interventional Cardiology), Dr. Gary Szydlowski (Cardiac Surgery), Dr. Matt Martinez (Diagnostic Cardiology), and Mr. Rich Steigerwalt (Clinical Expert, Edwards Lifesciences)

We wish to thank Dr. Wilson Szeto from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for proctoring these first two trans-catheter aortic valve replacement procedures at Lehigh Valley Hospital.  We appreciate the support and collaborative relationship between our colleagues at Penn and our team at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

This relationship is particularly gratifying for me, as Penn is my alma mater and I continue to enjoy a close professional and personal relationship with many colleagues and friends at Penn. Two health care leaders in our respective communities, Lehigh and Penn make a great team.

If you are a patient who has been told you are high risk for heart valve surgery, or perhaps have even been turned down for surgery, please call our heart valve nurse coordinator, Ronnie Moore at 610-402-6650 or call the hospital's main number 610-402-CARE.  You can also call the Lehigh Valley Heart and Lung Surgeons' office directly at 610-402-6890.

Go Red For Women Luncheon at DeSales University

I had the privilege of being the guest speaker at the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Luncheon, held at DeSales University on May 1, 2012.

I want to thank Even Tannery from WFMZ Channel 69 for her warm introduction.  I would also like to thank Winnie Melinsky for serving as Chair of the event.  Special thanks to Diana Skowronski and Anne Marie Crown for organizing the event.

We had almost 300 people in attendance.  Below is a video of my talk.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Going Away Party and Celebration for David Cederberg, PA-C

David Cederberg, PA-C, one of our most beloved physician assistants, has decided to switch careers after spending almost 25 years on the cardiothoracic surgery service at Lehigh Valley Health Network.  David will now be working with our Interventional Radiologists.

David, even though you'll be right down the hall, we're going to miss you.  Below is a video from the "Going Away" celebration for David.

(Turn on your speakers to hear the nice background music)