Our doctors at MedStar Heart Institute are drivers of innovation in heart care. There are several areas of focus where our research and passion have transformed heart care treatment. Our goal is to provide patient care where technology supports cardiac services, surgery is less invasive and imaging delivers real-time information. These advances allow for the best possible decisions in the operating room and cardiac catheterization suite in urgent and emergent situations.
Some examples of our innovations include:
Left ventricular assist devices, also known as LVADs, are small, implantable medical devices that support diseased or damaged heart muscle. They are used for patients who are waiting for a heart transplant and as long-term therapy. The doctors at the Institute were instrumental in progressing research to successfully implant and manage LVADs. Our patients have a survival rate of more than 90 percent at one year. The two-year survival rate is trending in the same direction. This brings new hope, and completely changes the outlook for patients and families using LVADs.
The TAVR procedure (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) is a clinical trial examining a procedure to treat patients with aortic stenosis who are too ill to undergo traditional surgery. Patients who received this procedure did much better than patients who received medication alone. The TAVR patients' mortality rate dropped by 20 percent. The Institute's physicians are continuing their research in the clinical trial, comparing the TAVR procedure to a minimally invasive transapical procedure.
Minutes count when a person is having a heart attack. Our patients can count on rapid communication and seamless interaction among caregivers, from MedSTAR ambulance and helicopter services to the Emergency Department and into the operating room. In fact, our cardiac team has a refined "Code Heart" approach to activate the Catheterization Lab team, in an effort to minimize heart muscle damage to patients who are experiencing a heart attack. MedStar Washington Hospital Center has the only 24/7 on-site cardiac treatment team in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. When minutes count, we are there.
Comprehensive information is critical when making decisions about treatment. Our cardiac imaging specialists are dedicated to advancing cardiac imaging in the areas of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and nuclear cardiology. Our continuing research provides our doctors with sharper, real-time imaging, quickly giving them information they need to make the best decisions for your care.