January 2 2007 - HEART VALVE SURGERY

For Immediate Release

January 2, 2007

John Moore
Media Relations
(903) 531-4542


Turner Cardiovascular Associates Cardiac Surgeon First In Tyler To Perform Procedure

TYLER, TX - In February 2004, the Trinity Mother Frances Heart Institute was the first in the region to offer less-invasive heart bypass procedures using advanced operating room technology. On December 16, the first minimally-invasive mitral heart valve surgery in Tyler was performed at the TMF Heart Institute. Neelan Doolabh, MD, a cardiac surgeon with Turner Cardiovascular Associates of Tyler performed the minimally-invasive mitral valve replacement at Mother Frances Hospital. The procedure was performed without stopping the heart.

The patient, 43-year-old Mark Wright of Longview, is recovering at home and is expected to return to normal activities within a few days.

"I have had this since I was in High school. Over the years I've kept up with it once a year or so. Last year, my cardiologist recommended I get it replaced or repaired and he recommended Dr. Doolabh," said Wright. "I talked to him (Doolabh) and he explained the new procedure and I told him I was willing to try it. I've heard nothing but good things about Trinity Mother Frances for years; my Dad has had surgery there. I spent a lot of time researching the procedure and I'm not aware of anywhere in the region that offers this, so I came to my Dad has had surgery there. I spent a lot of time researching the procedure and I'm not aware of anywhere in the region that offers this, so I came to Tyler. I did not want to have the traditional open heart surgery at my age and we both agreed this was a good option for me."

The procedure is performed through a 1.75 inch incision between two of the patient's ribs instead of performing a sternotomy (separating and opening the rib cage through an incision in the sternum). The minimally-invasive technique can reduce pain, post-surgical complications and significantly advance patient recovery time.

"Most patients who need valve repair delay treatment until they absolutely have to do it because the open procedure (sternotomy) is a major operation," said Neelan Doolabh, MD. "Now with a minimally-invasive technique, I can repair or replace the mitral valve without breaking the breastbone."

Heart valves are designed to control the direction of blood flow through the heart. The opening and closing of the heart valves produce the sound of the heartbeat. Mitral valve repair or replacement surgery is performed because of a diseased mitral heart valve. The surgery is done while the patient is under general anesthesia. Tubes are used to re-route the blood away from the heart to a heart-lung bypass machine to keep the blood oxygenated and circulating during surgery.

The Trinity Mother Frances Heart Institute is part of the Center For Advanced Surgery And Technology (CASAT) at Mother Frances Hospital.

"The Center For Advanced Surgery and Technology is dedicated to offering the new technology and expertise normally found in major metropolitan areas," said Michael J. Vintges, vice president, cardiac services and CASAT, Trinity Mother Frances Health System. "Dr. Doolabh has dedicated himself to utilizing this facility as a site for offering his patients the type of care they want and deserve."

CASAT also offers three revolutionary da Vinci robotic surgery systems (a laparoscopic surgical robot that integrates the classic skills of the surgeon with the futuristic precision of a robot) and a regional robotic training center for surgeons wishing to learn robotic surgical techniques. Mother Frances Hospital is the only facility in the east Texas to offer robotic surgery. Vintges said patient benefits for robotic surgery could include less pain, fewer side effects, faster recovery, less blood loss, shorter hospital stay, less risk of infection, faster return to daily activities and reduction in the size of the surgical incision.

CASAT encompasses a wide range of technologically advanced tools including 3-D echocardiography, an Avanto MRI which provides image clarity 100 times better than previous MRI technology, and two Stereotaxis magnetic assisted catheterization labs. For more information on CASAT, visit www.casattexas.org. For more information regarding all services available through Trinity Mother Frances Health System, visit www.tmfhs.org or call TeleCare Plus at 800-535-9799.

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