New Addition to Pediatric Heart Program
American Family Children's Hospital's Pediatric Heart Program has attracted several new providers and specialists, and with them comes the addition of an exciting, less invasive option for treatment.
With the addition of Luke Lamers, MD, director of pediatric catheterization services, UW Health now offers the Melody® heart valve as a non-surgical alternative for a small subset of children and adults with dysfunctional pulmonary valves in the right ventricular outflow tract.
First clinically available in the U.S. in 2010, the valve provides transcatheter pulmonary valve therapy implanted by catheterization. As a certified implanter, Dr. Lamers gained extensive experience with the device in his previous practice in Phoenix, Arizona.
Several advantages of the valve are:
- Shorter hospitalization: Patients are discharged from hospital the day after the procedure compared to a five to seven day hospital stay if the same problem was treated surgically.
- Limited discomfort: The valve is implanted through a small incision in the groin, sparing patients the discomfort of open heart surgery. Patients typically feel well within hours of the procedure that takes two to three hours.
- Rapid recovery: Patients recover quickly from the procedure. After a few days of rest, normal activity can occur with frequent improvement in activity tolerance shortly after a successful procedure.
- Sustained valve function: to date, the valve is working very well months to years after implantation with only a small need for future reinterventions.
- Minimal medication: Patients only require baby aspirin following the valve implantation. Significant anticoagulation or other cardiac medications are not necessary.
Dr. Lamers and his team are eagerly awaiting the opening of a world-class pediatric hybrid catheterization laboratory at American Family Children's Hospital this fall.
"With the latest x-Ray equipment available, this lab – the first of its kind in the state – will significantly reduce radiation exposure to patients having catheterization procedures. Decreasing x-ray dose exposure is very important in pediatric patients and in patients who require repeat procedures. The new equipment may reduce radiation exposure by up to 50 percent compared to traditional catheterization laboratories," says Dr. Lamers.