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UB, BGH cardiologist leads team in WNY's first successful aortic valve implant surgeries

by jmaloni
Tue, Jan 17th 2012 10:25 pm

Vijay S. Iyer, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and TAVR program director at Buffalo General Hospital, has successfully led a team of highly trained physicians to successfully implant aortic valves in two patients last week.

These are the first such procedures to implant aortic valves performed in Western New York; Buffalo General Hospital is the only facility approved to implant these valves west of Albany in New York.

Both patients are doing well.

Iyer said that this achievement marks a highly significant collaboration among UB and Buffalo General clinicians. He said it also provides an example of the kinds of benefits patients will see from translational medicine that will be fostered through the new joint UB-Kaleida Health building under construction, consisting of UB's Clinical and Translational Research Center and Gates Vascular Institute, on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

"This procedure provides many patients who have been deemed inoperable an opportunity to get what is a life saving treatment with proven improvements in survival and quality of life," Iyer said.

TAVR, or transcatheter aortic valve implantation, is a procedure where a bioprosthetic aortic valve is implanted to replace a severely stenotic aortic valve. At present, the FDA has only approved the access from the leg arteries. Iyer said TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure currently reserved for patients who have been turned down for a traditional aortic valve replacement by open-heart surgery due to serious medical co-morbidities.

"The development of these valves is the end process of initial work in animals, followed by years of engineering improvements in the design of the valve and delivery techniques, as well as the collaborative efforts of biomedical engineers and clinicians," he said, "The implantation of the valve in patients is also a complex process that requires the collaboration of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons, anesthesiologists and radiologists."

The team of physicians Iyer led to perform the first two cases includes: William Morris, M.D., interventional cardiologist and UB clinical assistant professor of medicine; Gary Grosner, M.D., cardiac surgeon and UB clinical assistant professor of surgery; Hashmat Ashraf, M.D., cardiac surgeon; Maciej Dryjski, M.D., vascular surgeon and UB professor of surgery; David Knorz, M.D., cardiac anesthesiology and UB clinical associate professor of anesthesiology; Steven Horn, M.D., cardiac imaging; Mont Stern, M.D., cardiac anesthesiology and UB clinical associate professor of anesthesiology; Sonya Noor, M.D., vascular surgery and UB clinical assistant professor of medicine; Susan Graham, M.D., cardiology and UB professor of medicine; and Charles Chung, M.D., cardiac radiology and UB clinical assistant professor of radiology.

Iyer's research interests involve investigational interventional devices, stem cell therapeutics and acute coronary syndromes. His work at UB's Center for Research in Cardiovascular Medicine has focused on hibernating myocardium and stem cell therapeutics for acute and chronic cardiovascular conditions.

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