Cardiac Care in Florida
In 1985, Tampa General Hospital became the first hospital in Florida to perform a successful heart transplant. Since then, the hospital has done 1,302 additional transplants and implanted 595 ventricular assist devices, or VADs. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Tampa General among the top 50 hospitals in the country for cardiology and heart surgery for nine consecutive years.
The hospital performs a range of complex surgeries and treats high-risk patients that many other hospitals cannot. It also has increased the number of procedures that can be performed through catheterization rather than surgery.
The hospitals’ six cath labs deploy stents, replace valves, plug holes and clip leaks, among other procedures, says Dr. Fadi Matar, medical director of Tampa General’s cath lab and an associate professor of medicine at the University of South Florida. Less invasive procedures are crucial for certain vulnerable populations, such as elderly patients or people dealing with multiple severe diseases or conditions.
The difference is striking. For instance, when Tampa General performs a trans-catheter aortic valve replacement, the patient “typically can go home in a day or two, instead of getting openheart surgery and staying in the hospital for a week or more,” Matar says.
The hospital is currently participating in a trial evaluating the use of a type of clip delivered via catheter to treat patients who have defective mitral valves but who are not candidates for surgery because their hearts are so weak that the surgery could prove fatal. The catheter procedure does not require doctors to temporarily stop the patient’s heart. The trial will evaluate up to 555 subjects over five years.
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