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Physician Education: Cardiology

Ablation Options for Atrial Fibrillation

Ablation is often used to treat atrial fibrillation when medical therapy has failed.  And while ablation has been available to patients for some time, cryoablation is a relatively new advance that has the potential to be more efficient than other ablation techniques.

A Primer on Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

The transcatheter aortic valve is the newer tool used to treat aortic stenosis.  Joon Sup Lee, MD,  of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute explains why TAVR can often help high risk patients diagnosed with aortic stenosis.

The Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)

A ventricular assist device (VAD) can be a life-saver for patients diagnosed with end-stage heart failure. For these patients, the VAD has three potential uses - a bridge to transplant, a temporary tool that enables the patient's own heart to rest and recover, or for those patients for which transplant is not an option, the VAD becomes a destination device. Dr. Robert Kormos, MD, director of UPMC's Artificial Heart Program, discusses how his program, one of the longest running in the country, is advancing new uses for the VAD and giving hope to patients where before there was none.

Exploring Options for Myocardial Perfusion Imaging

Microbubbles are gas-filled particles that have the ability to trace the path of red blood cells throughout the body. This is important because until now, ultrasound was not an option for myocardial perfusion testing. Now, they are being used as ultrasound contrast agents, allowing physicians to see blood flow through the heart. Dr. Liza Villanueva of UPMC provides insight into why the time is right to consider ultrasound imaging for myocardial perfusion testing in lieu of conventional nuclear imaging.

Myocardial Recovery in Patients with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy

Peripartum cardiomyopathy is a rare but serious disorder that affects mothers late in their pregnancy or shortly after delivery. It is a major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality. Dr. Dennis McNamara, director of UPMC's Heart Failure/Heart Transplantation program, says it is important for physicians to know this disorder exists and to consider the possibility of peripartum cardiomyopathy when pregnant women or new mothers mention symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and others.

A New Model for Treating Pulmonary Hypertension

Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) is a challenging disease to treat. For this reason, patients diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension often find themselves bounced between cardiologists and pulmonologists. At UPMC's Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Program, one of the largest in the country, patients are seen by these specialists at the same time, helping them receive an accurate diagnose faster and treatment quicker.

A Primer on Lead Management

Samir Saba, MD, director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, discusses factors that should be considered when contemplating device implantation and explantation.

Study Supports Mitral Valve Repair in Elderly

A study recently published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery suggests mitral valve repair is a safe, well-tolerated, and durable long-term solution to the treatment of mitral valve regurgitation in the elderly. Vinay Badhwar, MD, study investigator and co-director of the Center for Mitral Valve Disease and chief of Cardiac Surgery at UPMC explains.