Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 31, 2012
Contact : Maureen Gillespie, Manager, Public Relations  
732-776-4166
mgillespie@meridianhealth.com

Jersey Shore University Medical Center is the first hospital in the region to perform Aortic Valve Replacement without Open Heart Surgery

Groundbreaking non-surgical procedure provides hope for Bayville, NJ resident and other heart failure patients with limited alternatives  

Neptune, NJ - Jersey Shore University Medical Center proudly announces the completion of its first procedure with the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), the latest minimally-invasive, life-saving innovation for non-operative patients with critical aortic stenosis. On May 21st, 2012, Bayville resident Ed Bechold, 67, was the first patient at Jersey Shore to receive the TAVR. Jersey Shore is one of the select academic medical centers in the US chosen to perform the groundbreaking non-surgical procedure, confirming its position as one of the leading cardiovascular hospitals in the tri-state area.

The Edwards SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve®, approved by the FDA in November 2011, gives new hope to adult patients who suffer from severe aortic valve stenosis and are not candidates for conventional aortic valve surgery. Aortic stenosis is a type of valve disease that is caused by calcium deposits that eventually narrow and stiffen the valve. As it becomes more difficult to pump blood throughout the body, the heart weakens – potentially causing congestive heart failure. Approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from aortic stenosis, with 500,000 within this group suffering from severe aortic stenosis.

While Mr. Bechold had managed his recurrent bouts of congestive heart failure successfully for many years, he noticed two months ago that his health was deteriorating rapidly, causing shortness of breath and limiting his activities. “I regularly work out five times a week, but I was so tired, I had to stop going to the gym,” comments Mr. Bechold. According to Richard Neibart, M.D., Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, “As a result of Mr. Bechold’s condition, he was not a candidate for the conventional heart valve procedure. With TAVR, we were able to offer him this life-saving device and he returned home three days later." The multidisciplinary TAVR team that performed the procedure included Dr. Neibart; Cardiac Interventionalists Renato Apolito, M.D., Nelson LaMarche, M.D. and Tommy Ng, M.D.; Cardiac Surgeon Brook DeJene, M.D.; and Echocardiographers Lance Berger, M.D. and Peter Lapman, M.D. Mr. Bechold returned to his active life at the Jersey shore, where he spends time with his family, manages a successful real estate agency and even finds time to saltwater fish. Mr. Bechold adds, “My daughter is getting married in August and I want to ensure that I walk her down the aisle and share a dance with her at the wedding. Now I know I’ll be able to do that.”

TAVR enables the placement of a stent based tissue aortic heart valve into the body via a catheter that is inserted through the groin and threaded up to the heart through the arteries. TAVR is performed in a cardiac operating room or hybrid catheterization lab under general anesthesia. By combining minimally invasive techniques with the latest catheter technologies, TAVR is a non-surgical option that is less invasive than conventional surgery and is done while the heart remains pumping, eliminating the need for the heart-lung machine. “Mr. Bechold’s aorta was severely calcified which would make surgery very dangerous. His prior bypasses would be in jeopardy with a routine surgical opening. In other words, open heart surgery was not an option,” says Dr. LaMarche.

“The TAVR procedure has ushered in a new treatment era for aortic stenosis – the most common structural heart problem. What normally takes months for recovery was evident later that afternoon. Mr. Bechold was awake, talking and resting comfortably within hours of the procedure. TAVR, along with other recent cardiovascular advances, confirms Jersey Shore as a leading center for clinical research, and reflects our commitment to offering the most innovative medical treatments,” says Dawn Calderon, D.O., Acting Chief, Cardiology & Medical Director, Cardiovascular Research at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

About Jersey Shore’s multi-disciplinary Heart Team & Training:
As a regional leader in cardiovascular care, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, part of Meridian CardioVascular Network, is one of the first TAVR programs in New Jersey. The multidisciplinary Heart Team provides the most complete, most coordinated care to ensure the best outcomes for patients undergoing TAVR. The partnership between cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiologists of the Valve Center at Jersey Shore establishes the core of the TAVR Heart Team.

About Jersey Shore University Medical Center:
Jersey Shore University Medical Center, a member of the Meridian Health family, is a not-for-profit teaching hospital and home to K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital – the first children’s hospital in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Jersey Shore is the regional provider of cardiac surgery, a program which has been ranked among the best in the Northeast, and is home to the only trauma center and stroke rescue center in the region. Jersey Shore University Medical Center specializes in cardiovascular care, orthopedics and rehabilitation, cancer care, neuroscience, and women’s specialty services. For more information on Jersey Shore University Medical Center call 1-800-DOCTORS, or visit www.JerseyShoreUniversityMedicalCenter.com.