Combining New Technologies with Top Doctors

Cardiology has entered a new renaissance, and major improvements in cardiac care are now available to patients, which provide better outcomes often with less risk. Oklahoma Heart Institute (OHI) has made major investments in technology and has aggressively recruited skilled specialists from the leading academic centers to bring the latest advances in care to Northeastern Oklahoma. From prevention, to diagnosis, to treatment, Oklahoma Heart Institute (OHI) offers the latest therapies.

The Division of Structural Heart Disease is lead by Dr. Kamran Muhammad, who was recruited from the Cleveland Clinic. His program offers nonsurgical aortic valve replacement using a new balloon expanded stent valve. The new procedure is for patients who are elderly and considered too high of a risk for standard aortic valve surgery. Prior to the new stent valve procedure, these patients experienced a 50%, 1-year mortality rate. The new procedure is called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR). The new valve is placed through a catheter either introduced via the femoral artery or via the left ventricular apex. Studies have shown significant reductions in mortality rate with this procedure. Patients often go home in 3 to 5 days post procedure. In order to provide the TAVR procedure, Oklahoma Heart Institute had to build a new state of the art hybrid cath lab, which combines the complex imaging capabilities of a cath lab with the full operating options needed for cardiovascular surgery.

The structural heart program at Oklahoma Heart Institute provides cath lab therapies instead of surgical corrections for many patients with holes in their hearts (ASD, PFO, VSD) or for closure of shunts (PDAs and AV fistulas). The Interventional Cardiology Division performs complex angioplasty and stent procedures using advanced imaging modalities like IVUS, OCT, and NIR InfraRed Spectroscopy to help cardiologists better understand the vessel anatomy and pathology so that optimal therapy will be provided. In addition, carotid stenting and peripheral balloon angioplasty and stenting provide patients with options besides surgery and also provide opportunities to patients who are not candidates for surgical corrective procedures.

The Electrophysiology Division of Oklahoma Heart Institute has been a pioneer in ablation therapies for atrial fibrillation and reports high success rates for cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation techniques. In addition, patients with chronic atrial fibrillation who cannot take anticoagulants for stroke prevention can often be treated with the Lariat Device to ligate the left atrial appendage. Other newer treatment strategies include those offered by the venous interventionalists at OHI. New aggressive therapies for patients with deep venous thrombosis (DVT) significantly reduce the risk of patients developing a post thrombotic syndrome (where the patient ends up with a swollen, painful leg for the rest of their life.) The heart failure specialists at Oklahoma Heart Institute provide not only newer in-patient therapies, but also operate a very successful outpatient clinic with advanced therapies including outpatient aquapheresis for those patients resistant to diuretics.

In the area of diagnosis, OHI has the largest cardiac and vascular MRI program in the state and one of the largest in the United States. Under the direction of Dr. Ted Martin, patients with cardiomyopathies, aortic abnormalities, and with other vascular abnormalities can have detailed imaging of their problems and with no radiation risk. Dr. Victor Cheng was recruited from Cedar Sinai in California to develop the new cardiac CT program at Oklahoma Heart Institute. This state of the art CT scanner will provide noninvasive imaging of the heart, its blood vessels, and the blood vessels throughout the body with greater details and much less radiation.

One of the greatest aspects of cardiology is that prevention truly works. Dr. Eric Auerbach and Dr. Ralph Duda help combine the specialties of cardiology and endocrinology to develop an outstanding prevention and wellness clinic. Patients with difficult to control risk factors gain access to some of the latest therapies for cholesterol reduction and aggressive diabetes management.

Finally, Oklahoma Heart Institute continues to provide a robust clinical research program which allows patients to participate in research trials that give them access to the latest therapies which may not be clinically available to the public for 5 to 10 years from now. At Oklahoma Heart Institute, there are many more new therapies that we anticipate becoming available within the next few years. Our goal is to continue to make the needed commitments necessary to rapidly bring the future of cardiology to Northeastern Oklahoma.

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Wayne N. Leimbach, Jr., M.D.
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