October 30, 2023
HARRISBURG, PA — Two physicians from the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute in Central Pa. are the first structural interventional cardiologists in the U.S. to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of a filtration system to prevent blood clots that could be released during the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure from traveling to the brain and causing a stroke.
The trial, which is evaluating the Emblok™ Embolic Protection System, is an example of how UPMC provides Central Pa. patients access to the latest advances in medical care. Hemal Gada, M.D., president, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute in Central Pa., and Paul Mahoney, M.D., co-director of the structural heart program, are principal investigators in this groundbreaking trial.
Mahoney, the site principal investigator, performed the procedure in October at UPMC Harrisburg. The patient has been discharged from the hospital and is recovering well.
Each year, about 73,000 people in the U.S. undergo a TAVR procedure to treat aortic stenosis, which occurs when a valve in the heart narrows to the point that blood cannot flow normally. An alternative to open-heart surgery, TAVR is a minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure for heart patients who have severe symptomatic aortic stenosis. During the TAVR procedure, particles may be released into the blood stream, which can reach the brain and cause a stroke. Embolic protection systems are “filter-like” devices that are inserted during the TAVR procedure to either deflect the particles downstream or to capture and remove the particles at the end of the procedure.
"Although stroke risk is decreasing with newer generation devices, it remains an important and troubling complication of TAVR,” said Gada. “As part of UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute's efforts to reduce disabling stroke rate during TAVR procedures to as close to zero as possible, we implement various techniques and devices for increased patient safety. The Emblok™ Embolic Protection System is another important breakthrough in ensuring the safety of our patients."
Patients receiving care at UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute facilities across Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, York, Lancaster, Lebanon, Franklin, and Adams counties benefit from groundbreaking research and have local access to more than 100 clinical trials.
UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute in Central Pa. recently achieved the distinguished three-star rating, the highest rating possible, from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) in 4 out of 5 total categories for patient care and outcomes. This three-star rating places UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute in Central Pa. among the most elite cardiac surgery programs — the top 1% — in the U.S. and Canada. For more information on the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute in Central Pa., visit UPMC.com/CentralPaHeart.
This trial is funded by Innovative Cardiovascular Solutions, LLC (ICS).