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Heart Device Keeps Children Out of Operating Room

By Tammy Gay

Photo of Mark Vranicar, M.D. and Samantha Wood
Mark Vranicar, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, UK College of Medicine, listens to the heart of 4-year-old Samantha Wood, as her family watches.

To correct this heart defect in the past, open heart surgery had to be performed. Now the AMPLATZER® Septal Occluder can close the hole through a cardiac catheterization procedure. This procedure involves puncturing an artery or vein, usually located in the groin, so that a catheter can be guided into the heart and major vessels around the heart.

 

March 13, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Dianne and Daniel Wood knew eventually their daughter would need open heart surgery to repair a hole in her heart.

They were pleasantly surprised last week when a University of Kentucky physician was able to repair the heart defect in the cardiac catheterization lab rather than in the operating room.

Mark Vranicar, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, UK College of Medicine, performed procedures last week to repair four atrial septal defects using the recent FDA-approved device, the AMPLATZER® Septal Occluder.

An atrial septal defect occurs when there is a hole in the wall or septum of the upper chambers of the heart (atria). This defect results in an increase in blood flow to the right side of the heart, making it work harder. With more blood volume to the right atrium, more blood flows through the lungs than normal.

“Most parents don’t know their children have this defect,” Vranicar said. “This new device offers exciting new opportunities for us. Rather than having children staying in the hospital for three days and have several weeks of recovery from open heart surgery, they can go home the next day.”

Many times, this defect is found when a physician hears a heart murmur during a physical exam. An echocardiography normally is used to confirm the atrial septal defect.

Although most children tolerate this defect without any symptoms, as they reach adulthood it can lead to an enlargement of the heart, arrhythmias and damage to the blood vessels in the lungs.

To correct this heart defect in the past, open heart surgery had to be performed. Now the AMPLATZER® Septal Occluder can close the hole through a cardiac catheterization procedure. This procedure involves puncturing an artery or vein, usually located in the groin, so that a catheter can be guided into the heart and major vessels around the heart.

The AMPLATZER® Septal Occluder is a self-expandable, double disc device made from a Nitinol wire mesh. The device corresponds to the size of the defect in order to close the hole.

One hour after 4-year-old Samantha Wood’s procedure, she was awake and ready to play, said Daniel Wood, her father.


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