A Healthier Heart Through Smaller Incisions
A Hyattsville man benefits from two minimally invasive procedures in one day
More than a decade ago, a doctor detected a faint heart murmur in Clyde Neidhammer, now 67 years old, of Hyattsville. “He said not to worry at the moment, but down the road I might need surgery,” Neidhammer says.
During a more recent doctor appointment for his wife with Sung Lee, MD, electrophysiologist at Washington Adventist Hospital, Neidhammer asked whether Dr. Lee would listen to his heart, telling him of the doctor’s cautionary warning 10 years ago.
“I heard a very distinct murmur and referred Clyde to have an echocardiogram test the next day,” Dr. Lee says.
The test was used to confirm heart valve disease. Neidhammer’s next stop would be to meet with Anthony Rongione, MD, cardiac surgeon at Washington Adventist Hospital.
Dr. Rongione told Neidhammer his aortic heart valve would need to be replaced. “Before we perform surgery, we want to know what other issues we may discover in the heart, which is why patients will have a heart catheterization first,” Dr. Rongione says.
David Brill, MD, interventional cardiologist at Washington Adventist Hospital, performed the catheterization. “The procedure showed that Clyde’s left anterior descending heart artery was 70 percent blocked,” Dr. Brill says.
With that type of severe blockage combined with a diseased heart valve, the traditional course of treatment would be open-heart surgery—a coronary artery bypass graft, to deal with the blocked artery, and a valve replacement. Drs. Rongione and Brill, however, had another idea that would offer Neidhammer the same results with smaller incisions, less scarring and a faster recovery. Neidhammer decided to go with the minimally invasive approach. The surgery was performed on Nov. 2, 2012.
Dr. Brill first performed a minimally invasive transradial catheterization, gaining access to the heart through a wrist artery, to open up Neidhammer’s artery. Immediately after, Dr. Rongione performed a minimally invasive aortic valve replacement. Neidhammer headed home just three days after surgery.
“I was pleased when the doctors told me they could take this hybrid approach rather than full open-heart surgery,” Neidhammer says. “I had no pain, and within a few weeks I was back on my feet and back to work.” As the pastor at Woodlawn Christian Fellowship in Hyattsville, Neidhammer says a fast and full recovery was important.
“My wife and I have been using the cardiac services at Washington Adventist Hospital for years,” Neidhammer says. “The cardiac team did such an amazing job. I’m just always impressed.”