Banner Health News Center  

Banner Good Samaritan  finds innovative techniques to treat heart patients


PHOENIX (July 3, 2014) – Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center continues to push the envelope in otherwise traditional medicine to further improve patient outcomes and reduce post-surgery complications.

A team at the Cavanagh Heart Center recently performed the first reported transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure (in pic: Dr. Fang with arms crossed and Dr. Pershad next to him), an already minimally invasive alternative to traditional open-heart surgery for high-risk patients, without the use of any contrast (dye). Eliminating the use of contrast allows the procedure to now be safely performed in patients with advanced kidney disease.

Contrast is a compound to improve the visibility of internal body structures on an X-ray image so physicians have a clear image during procedures like the valve replacement. Traditionally, this surgery is performed using anywhere from 50 to150cc of contrast.

“TAVR is a wonderful advancement in medicine for high-risk patients, but we knew we could take it a step further,” said Kenith Fang, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Cavanagh Heart Center at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.

“Some of our patients are not only high-risk for surgery, but also have underlying kidney disease and face the risk of acute kidney injury from the contrast. We are committed to continue making progress in innovation to further reduce post-surgery complications, and this week we succeeded.”

“Our team is clearly the leader for the TAVR procedure in the state of Arizona,” said Ashish Pershad, MD, interventional cardiovascular fellowship program director at the nonprofit hospital. “We are proud to continue to find new, innovative approaches to make these already minimally-invasive procedures even safer for our patients.”

Dr. Fang alongside Dr. Pershad was able to place the new valve with a combination of a fluoroscopy, an X-ray creating real-time moving images, and a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). The TEE, run by George Gellert, MD, is a three-dimensional imaging technique that provides clear imaging of the body to ensure the valve was placed accurately and functioning adequately.

“Our ability to complete the valve replacement without any contrast is taking a novel procedure and making it even safer,” said Dr. Gellert, one of the first physicians in Phoenix to master the use of TEE and now teaches physicians internationally about the procedure.

Dr. Gellert noted there are two key benefits of accomplishing the TAVR without the use of contrast. First, patients with kidney disease are now eligible for the procedure without facing some of the common post-surgery complications. Secondly, the radiation exposure for the patients but also physicians and staff in the operating room, which is a cumulative risk, is also reduced substantially.

“This is a wonderful accomplishment,” Gellert said. “This team at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center is the first reported team, to our knowledge, to complete a TAVR case without any contrast.”

Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix is a large teaching hospital that has provided medical care to Arizona and the Southwest since 1911. The hospital specializes in heart care, cancer care, high-risk obstetrics, neurosciences and stroke care, organ transplants and Emergency care including a Level 1 trauma center. Banner Good Samaritan is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit health care system with 25 hospitals in seven states. For more information, visit or Facebook.

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