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Prairie Heart Institute and HSHS St. John’s Hospital Celebrate the Success of Minimally Invasive Heart Surgeries

Prairie Heart Institute and HSHS St. John’s Hospital are celebrating the milestone achievements we’ve recently reached with some of our cutting edge minimally invasive heart surgeries, which are alternatives to traditional open heart surgery.

“These minimally invasive technologies are all about partnership and team-based care which enables us to serve a wider range of patients more effectively, drawing on our unique resources,” said Dr. Marc Shelton, president of Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants. “The proven success of our cardiovascular teams, our commitment to quality and excellence in patient care makes these procedures a natural fit. It’s a great example of how collaboration and innovation can dramatically improve the level of heart care for our patients across central Illinois.”

Dr. Raja Gopaldas has performed 100 minimally invasive cardiac surgeries, and we are the only hospital in Illinois performing true minimally invasive cardiac surgeries. In a minimally invasive cardiac surgery, a heart valve or artery can be fixed, replaced or bypassed, tumors can be removed, defects or holes in the heart can be repaired and procedures to treat atrial fibrillation can be performed all without "cracking the chest." Also procedures such as MAZE for atrial fibrillation, removal of tumors and repairing defects/holes in the heart can be performed without cracking the chest.

 “A minimally invasive approach provides patients with a faster recovery and less pain,” said Dr. Gopaldas. “With minimally-invasive surgery, patients become active a lot faster -- thus avoiding the complications of inactivity after the traditional surgery. Also, the risk of fatal infection of the breast bone is almost non-existent since the bone is not cut open for the surgery."

We are also celebrating that we’ve performed 500 TAVR procedures (transcatheter aortic valve replacement), a minimally invasive procedure used to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly. This procedure is available to patients who are considered to be at high and intermediate risk for traditional valve replacement. In TAVR, a small catheter is passed through the leg and up to the heart. The disease valve is replaced without stopping the heart or even making an incision in the chest.

“The entire team is tremendously proud of this milestone,” said Dr. Nilesh Goswami, director of the Prairie Heart Institute Cardiac Cath Lab. "Our program continues to grow. Today, we’re even able to offer some of our patients TAVR procedures without general anesthesia. It helps to make their recovery that much faster with some patients being discharged home the very next day."

These minimally invasive procedures are much more appealing to patients for a variety of reasons. TAVR is available for patients who are too sick for traditional valve replacement surgery, high risk for surgery or even intermediate risk for surgery. Without TAVR, most patients don't live beyond two years after being diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis. For minimally invasive cardiac surgeries, the patients experience less pain, a shorter hospital stay and return to a normal life more quickly than in a typical open-heart procedure. Additionally, as heart patients continue to live longer lives, using a minimally invasive approach leaves the sternum intact so patients still have an option for open heart in the future (re-operative open heart procedures can be difficult and often times, impossible).

“Someone asked me why I decided to have a TAVR procedure,” said Helen Roller, a patient who had her TAVR in January 2013. “I told them I didn't have time for a wheelchair; I have things to do and places to go.”

Central Illinois is the heart of America, and for nearly 20 years, the Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. John's Hospital has been committed to offering the patients of downstate Illinois access to the most innovative and advance heart and vascular care available.    


About Prairie Heart Institute
The Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Illinois offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. With access to more cardiovascular experts than any other facility in downstate Illinois, their combined expertise provides state-of-the-art interventional and surgical capabilities in 24-hour cardiac catheterization labs and surgical suites. The Prairie Heart Institute champions an innovative approach to the treatment of cardiovascular disease utilizing minimally invasive technologies such as TAVR, MitraClip and minimally invasive cardiac surgery.  And while the Prairie Heart Institute clinical staff offers the latest advances in medicine, its physician-scientists are also actively enhancing knowledge of the heart and vascular disease through clinical investigation and research. For more information about the Prairie Heart Institute, visit https://www.st-johns.org.
About HSHS St. John's Hospital
HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois is a regional medical center offering a comprehensive array of health care services to central and southern Illinois. Founded in 1875, St. John’s is the flagship hospital of Hospital Sisters Health System, and is home to the Prairie Heart Institute, St. John’s Children’s Hospital, St. John’s Women’s Services, St. John’s Neurosciences Institute, St. John’s Cancer Institute, orthopedic services and AthletiCare. St. John’s now has one of the most advanced surgery centers in the nation and a renovated patient tower with all private rooms. St. John’s is designated as a level I trauma center, has its own college of nursing and is a teaching hospital for the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. For more information about St. John’s Hospital, visit www.st-johns.org

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