Dave Fornell, DAIC Editor

Dave Fornell, editor of DAIC Magazine

Blog | Dave Fornell, DAIC Editor | University of Colorado Hospital| January 16, 2019

Highlighting Innovation at the University of Colorado Hospital Cardiology Program

A MitraClip case underway at the University of Colorado Hospital hybrid cath lab. Left to right are doctors John Carroll, Edward Gill and Dominik Wiktor.

A MitraClip case underway at the University of Colorado Hospital hybrid cath lab. Left to right are doctors John Carroll, Edward Gill and Dominik Wiktor. 

In late December, I had the opportunity to conduct an onsite visit to the University of Colorado Hospital Heart and Vascular Center at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colo., which is part of UCHealth. The DAIC team spent two days there to shoot 11 video interviews and sit in on MitraClip and chronic total occlusion (CTO) cases. This is part of a new format DAIC is using to highlight luminary cardiology programs. We wanted to go beyond a single article to instead spotlight the numerous elements that make up a top-notch cardiac center. 

The center performs about 3,000 interventional and structural heart cases per year. Of these, 400 are coronary procedures and 75 percent of those are for acute coronary syndromes. The difficult percutanenous coronary interventions (PCI) performed include complex high-risk and indicated patients (CHIP), including about 50 cases that require Impella support and 25-50 CTO procedures per year.  All the physicians who care for patients at this center are also faculty with the University of Colorado (UC) School of Medicine’s Division of Cardiology. Through their CU faculty positions, these physicians have researched and developed the clinical trials and innovative technologies being used today. 

I spoke with John Messenger, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, director of the cardiac cath labs and director of the cardiovascular ICU/stepdown unit, and Kevin Rogers, M.D., director of vascular medicine at the University of Colorado Hospital, about their complex PCI program. They explained how they minimize X-ray and contrast dose during these longer procedures, the tools they use and offered advice for centers expanding into complex PCI. You can watch the interview in the VIDEO: The Evolution of Complex PCI at University of Colorado.

UCHealth also has a robust structural heart program that has been involved in several key pivotal trials for new technologies. I spoke with John Carroll, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, director of interventional cardiology, and Robert Quaife, M.D., director of advanced cardiac imaging, about how they developed their transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and mitral valve repair programs. You can hear what they had to say on the formation of their MitraClip program in the VIDEO: Evolution of Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair at the University of Colorado. This includes footage from one of their MitraClip procedures. 

Carroll offered advice to hospitals planning to start a structural heart program based on his own experience in this VIDEO

The key to successful structural heart programs is the creation of a close-knit heart team. One of those members at UCHealth is heart failure specialist Andreas Brieke, M.D., director of mechanical circulatory support. He served as the site principal investigator for the COAPT Trial and we spoke about the impact of that study's use of MitraClip in the VIDEO: Impact of the COAPT Trial on Heart Failure Patients With Functional Mitral Regurgitation

Carroll was the principal investigator for the RESPECT Trial, which helped clear the way for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance of the Amplatzer device for transcatheter closure of patent foramen ovale (PFO) in patients with cryptogenic stroke. UCHeath's Stroke and Brain Aneurysm Center is where cryptogenic stroke patients are referred and assessed to see if they are candidates for PFO closure. Carrol collaborates closely with neurologist Karen Orjuela, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at the University of Colorado, as part of the heart-brain team. Hear her insights about this team approach in the VIDEO: An Overview of PFO Closure to Treat Cryptogenic Stroke.

Imaging plays a key role in complex PCI and structural heart procedures. When Carroll started to develop the structural heart program in the 1990s, he brought in Quaife to become director of advanced imaging and James Chen, Ph.D., to become director of the newly created 3-D Imaging Lab. They helped create imaging techniques to enable several structural heart procedures, including working with Philips Healthcare to develop the EchoNavigator technology that allows fusion of both live fluoro with live transesophageal echo (TEE). The EchoNavigator technology is a foundation in all the structural heart procedures performed at UCHealth. Quaife shared his insights on the need for and development of advanced imaging with a step-by-step presentation in the VIDEO: The Role of Advanced Imaging in Structural Heart Interventions.

Videos and articles created from this visit will be loaded as they are completed to DAIC's website on a dedicated University of Colorado Hospital landing page. There are already nine videos loaded to the page. Photos from the visit will be used with several upcoming articles, including a few in the Jan-Feb 2019 print issue. The interviews we filmed also will be used for upcoming articles. 


Take a Virtual Tour of the Cath and EP Labs

Part of the site visit were tours of their newest cath lab, hybrid OR and an electrophysiology lab. You can watch a walkthrough video of these three rooms in:

   • VIDEO: Cath Lab Walk Through at the University of Colorado Hospital

   • VIDEO: Walk Through of a Hybrid Cath Lab 

   • VIDEO: Walk Through of an EP Lab at the University of Colorado Hospital


Other Hospital Landing Pages

In 2018, DAIC conducted five on-site hospital visits. Here are the landing pages for some of these:

   • Henry Ford Hospital

   • Baylor Scott and White Heart Hospital

   • Northwestern Medicine — Central DuPage Hospital

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