Nash Heart Center offers new services


From Staff Reports

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Nash Heart Center at Nash UNC Health Care announced Thursday it will now offer support services for heart valve replacement procedures, bringing a number of services typically performed in Chapel Hill closer to home for residents of Eastern North Carolina.

Dr. John Vavalle, director of the UNC Heart Valve Clinic team at UNC Health Care, announced the new services during a ceremony Thursday — which was National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day — at the Nash Heart Center. Vavalle was the first to perform a successful Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement in 2014 at UNC .

Sarah Heenan, executive director of the Nash Heart Center, said the new services will offer great convenience for patients in the Twin Counties.

“Now, those with valvular heart disease can have their pre-operative testing, preparation for surgery and post-operative care performed right here at the Nash Heart Center without having to drive to Chapel Hill for all of these services,”  Heenan said. “Drs. Michael Yeung and Zehra Husain Syed, interventional cardiologists with UNC Cardiology at Nash, will perform percutaneous heart valve replacements with the UNC Heart Valve Clinic team at UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill and perform the pre- and post-operative care here at Nash.”

Yeung said that percutaneous surgery, which is performed through the skin with the use of a catheter, is far less invasive than traditional heart valve surgery.

“In the past, percutaneous heart surgery was an option for older people and those unable to undergo the rigors and trauma of traditional surgery. Because of its high success rate, however, the percutaneous procedure is now an option for patients rated at less risk,” Yeung said.

The Nash Heart Center opened in 2014 and has continually added more services, including balloon angioplasty and percutaneous stent placement. With the addition of interventional cardiologists, UNC Cardiology at Nash has greatly broadened the scope of services performed at the center and has won numerous awards from the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiologists and other organizations that rate heart care and treatment, according to a press release from the center.

The American Heart Association reports that about five million Americans are diagnosed with valvular heart disease each year. According to the organization, valve disease can develop before birth (congenital) or it can be acquired later in one's lifetime. Sometimes the cause is unknown, but common causes are coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, syphilis, hypertension, aortic aneurysms and connective tissue diseases. Rheumatic fever, caused by an untreated bacterial infection such as strep, was once a major cause, but the introduction of antibiotic treatments has dramatically reduced the number of these cases, according to the press release.

For more information about heart care and treatment, call UNC Cardiologists at Nash at 252 962.2328 or visit nhcs.org.