UC Health performs U.S. first in endoscopic heart surgery

UC Health cardiac surgeons have successfully performed the United States’ first-ever endoscopic “triple valve” surgery at UC Medical Center.

In a single incision roughly one-inch long, the team performed endoscopic cardiac surgery to replace the aortic and mitral valve and repair the tricuspid value – called “triple valve” surgery.

Under the leadership of Tommaso Hinna Danesi, MD, UC Health cardiac surgeon and associate professor of surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, the UC Heart, Lung, and Vascular Institute can now operate on up to three heart valves through one very small skin incision, compared to a traditional open-heart surgical approach.

Tommaso Hinna Danesi, MD (center), and team with patient Karyn Russell
Photo: UC Health

Dr. Hinna Danesi is one of 12 physicians in the world capable of performing an advanced endoscopic heart valve surgery, which leads to faster recovery and reduces surgical time by 50%. The surgical team also included UC Health anesthesiologists James Bailey, MD, Ryan Noska, MD and physician’s assistant Anna Simoni.

The patient was Karyn Russell, a 63-year-old grandmother and special education teacher in Cincinnati. Russell began experiencing heart problems about five years ago, and in April was diagnosed with heart failure. On July 12, Russell became the first endoscopic triple valve surgery patient in the United States.

“Because of the sternal sparing and the miniaturized incision site, the patient experiences less pain, has a shorter hospital stay, and overall a faster recovery and back to normal life,” said Dr. Hinna Danesi.

This procedure not only is unique in terms of the operation itself, but also in the preparation. Frank J. Rybicki, MD, PhD, UC Health vice chair of radiology and professor at the UC College of Medicine, led the surgical planning team that provided Dr. Hinna Danesi with a state-of-the-art 3D map of the patient’s heart and valves. This allowed Dr. Hinna Danesi to navigate his surgical approach in advance to target the location of the incision and minimize the impact to the patient.

“The 3D roadmap and the digital surgical plan was created for this specific procedure, and it is not available anywhere else,” said Dr. Rybicki. “The 3D printing section provides our expert surgeons patient-specific planning and delivers to the surgeon novel methods ability to conceptualize their surgery in a digital space, or to hold a 3D model in their hands to rehearse the procedure.”

Russell was discharged from UC Medical Center less than a week after surgery.


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