Heart Center Cardiologist to Repair Adult Congenital Heart Defect Live on Internet Using Minimally Invasive Procedure

May 30, 2006

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A cardiologist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center will perform a minimally invasive procedure to repair a common congenital heart defect on an adult patient live on the Internet.

Heart Center cardiologist Sanjay K. Gandhi, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Wake Forest Baptist, will perform the procedure Tuesday, June 6 at 5 p.m. The program will be narrated by his colleague, cardiologist Renato M. Santos, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Wake Forest Baptist.

Viewers can access the live Webcast or view achieved footage of this and other procedures by registering at http://www1.wfubmc.edu/webcasts/.

Patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a common congenital heart defect found in 20 percent of all adults. It occurs when an opening in the septum (wall) between the left and right atrium—the upper chambers of the heart—doesn’t close after birth. The residual tunnel can potentially allow blood to leak between the chambers.

Most people don’t suffer any ill effects. In fact, many people are not aware that they even have the abnormality. However, doctors believe some young adults with PFOs may be at risk of suffering a particular type of stroke (thromboembolic) caused by blood clots that form and travel to the heart and then to the brain. Often, the defect is not discovered until after the patient has suffered such a stroke.

The repair device is inserted into the heart through a vein in the leg—much like angioplasty. A two-part patch closes the opening on both sides and seals the opening. This procedure can also be used to repair atrial septal defect (ASD) another congenital heart defect that might be asymptomatic in children, but can cause problems in adults.

ASD also involves an opening in the upper chambers of the heart that fails to close after birth. An ASD, however, is a true hole in the septum. It occurs in approximately four out of every 100,000 people.

In adults with an ASD, heart complications normally appear after age 30 and could include:
• A bacterial infection of the heart (endocarditis).
• An abnormally fast heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation).
• Abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs (pulmonary hypertension).
• Heart failure.

For more information, contact Jim Steele, (336) 716-4587.


Media Contacts: Jim Steele, jsteele@wfubmc.edu, Shannon Koontz, shkoontz@wfubmc.edu, or Karen Richardson, krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu, at (336) 716-4587.

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,187 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

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