OHI performs first AccuCinch procedure in Tulsa

The Oklahoma Heart Institute structural heart and advanced heart failure teams recently performed the first AccuCinch left ventricular restoration procedure in Tulsa. This innovative procedure, which is being evaluated in the CORCINCH-HF research trial, has the potential to help patients with congestive heart failure by implanting a device in patients with an enlarged left ventricle, helping shrink the size of the left ventricle, reduce symptoms, improve quality of life and potentially increase life expectancy.

Kamran Muhammad, M.D. and David Meggo, M.D. from OHI spoke to KOTV - News on 6 about the first procedure and how the trial could help countless heart failure patients in the future. You can watch the full story here.

February is American Heart Month. Many people in Oklahoma have congestive heart failure and a lot of them end up in the hospital. In fact, doctors said it’s the leading cause of hospital admission in America with an estimated 6.5 million U.S. adults suffering from heart failure.

Dr. Muhammad is the director of the Structural Heart Disease Program at OHI, and an interventional cardiologist.

He said symptoms of congestive heart failure include fatigue, excessive tiredness, shortness of breath, fluid retention, confusion, memory loss, swelling in your legs because your heart is not pumping effectively, and not enough blood is coming out to your organs.

In the past, they had a couple of options for treatment. But The Oklahoma Heart Institute is the only hospital in Tulsa participating in a study that could help the people who are stuck between those options.

OHI's structural heart and advanced heart failure teams worked together to perform the first AccuCinch left ventricular restoration procedure in Tulsa earlier this month.

It's being evaluated in the CORCINCH-HF research trial with the goal of helping people with congestive heart failure whose needs aren't met by lifestyle changes, medicines, and pacemakers.

Douglass Woodin is tired of being tired. He's had six heart procedures in the last two years, but he said this most recent one feels different.

The four hours Douglas spent on the operating table gave him a lifetime of hope.

“I've got that Marine Corps mentality. So, let's go. Let's get it done with,” said Douglas.

He has congestive heart failure and before February, he was barely making it through each day.

Douglas’ chest felt heavy, he was tired all the time, and tethered to Oxygen.

"I wanted to get off Oxygen because I work on old cars,” said Douglas. "I told my wife I do not want to come back down here no more. I've had enough. I've gone through just about every procedure they can think of. […] We’re at the end of the rope. This is it.”

Douglas is the first patient in Tulsa to have the AccuCinch device. Doctor Muhammad said there are several medications that have come out over the past five to 10 years that help strengthen the heart and alleviate symptoms. However, medications have a limit.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people in the middle who don’t feel quite well enough with medicines but don’t qualify for advanced therapies because they’re not that sick, but they’re still coping with heart failure symptoms. They still keep coming to the hospital,” said Dr. Kamran Muhammad, OHI cardiologist.

He said this procedure fills that gap by implanting the device in patients with an enlarged left ventricle, helping to shrink the size of the left ventricle, reduce stress, and support and strengthen the heart wall.

“We cinch down that chamber, the left ventricle. In heart patients, that chamber is dilated and doesn’t work well, doesn’t squeeze well, so the idea is can we reverse that mechanically with a device that’s implanted through the groin without surgery in a procedure that takes a few hours,” said Dr. Muhammad. “It might improve heart failure symptoms, improve quality of life, reduce rehospitalization for heart failure and improve long-term outcomes.”

The Oklahoma Heart Institute is one of about 80 sites across the county participating in the major research study.

“We are continually recruiting patients for this heart failure trial because it is a trial that is utilizing this new device in order to accomplish something that was missing before, which is essentially a therapy that fills in a gap,” said Dr. Meggo, a board certified advanced heart failure specialist at OHI. “Overtime, what they have seen is that the heart will incorporate this cinching device. […] It will cover it with cells inside the heart and it will make it part of its own.”

Doctors said about 400 people across the country will be a part of the study and of those, only half will get the device in a randomized selection process.

“This is what makes my job the best job here in Tulsa because they are really at the cutting edge of technology. Heart failure for the longest time was about medications and about heart transplants and mechanical pumps and now we’re having something in-between those two phases where we can actually do something to prevent them from sliding down even further,” said Dr. Meggo.

Dr. Muhammad said the preliminary data indicates promise and they are hopeful this trial will lead to the approval of the device. He said the trials are very selective and patients must meet specific criteria.He said the study will last until the quota is met and expects it to take a few years to complete.

As for Douglas, it's been about two weeks since his procedure.

“Right now, I feel extremely well. It's going to be a good success. It works,” said Douglas. “It feels like it's working. It really does. […] I'm going to stay off it [the operating table] for a long time."