CMC’s New England Heart & Vascular Institute brings patients to the cutting edge of care & treatment

More than a half-dozen trials and new procedures implemented so far in 2021

Published 6/7/2021

Underscoring its commitment to the most advanced treatment options for patients, the team at Catholic Medical Center’s (CMC) New England Heart & Vascular Institute (NEHVI) has recently introduced several cutting-edge procedures for various cardiovascular conditions. In many cases, NEHVI is first site in New England, and in one instance the country, to offer these technologies. 

“We are honored to have the trust of not only our patients but also the medical device industry to bring this level of innovation to New Hampshire,” said Dr. Louis Fink, Executive Medical Director at NEHVI. “Patients have more options than ever to treat their disease and regain quality of life. The future of cardiovascular care is right here in Manchester.” 

Ongoing developments in heart and vascular care have increasingly resulted in treatment options that are less-invasive, require shorter hospital stays, and improve the patient’s recovery. To do this, NEHVI’s surgeons, interventional cardiologists, and electrophysiologists work as a team to ensure all patients—especially those with complex disease—have a comprehensive treatment plan. New procedures offered at CMC include:

CMC is the first hospital in New Hampshire to perform the Convergent procedure, which seeks to treat patients with long-standing atrial fibrillation (AFib). This two-step procedure combines a minimally-invasive surgery with an electrophysiology ablation. In most cases, the patient will no longer need medications to control AFib or blood clotting. 

CMC was the first hospital in New England to implant the WATCHMANTM device after FDA approval. The WATCHMANTM helps reduce the risk of stroke in patients with a certain kind of AFib called non-valvular AFib. The device is implanted in the heart through a catheter. It was first considered an alternative treatment for patients who could not tolerate traditional stroke-reduction methods—blood thinners and surgery. The CHAMPION AF study will determine if the next-generation WATCHMAN FLXTM device is suitable for all patients with non-valvular AFib. 

The NEwTON AF study is evaluating the new IntellaNav StablePoint ablation catheter to treat patients with intermittent AFib. During an ablation, a catheter uses energy to scar soft tissue on the heart and interrupt the haywire electrical signals that cause AFib. The StablePoint catheter, working with the RHYTHMIA HDx mapping software, provides the physician with an extensive amount of information from inside the heart. As a result, the physician can direct the ablation with the most precision and consistent pressure, leading to a more effective procedure. CMC was the first hospital in the country to enroll patients in this trial and was the first in Northern New England to use the RHYTHMIA mapping software.   

CMC is proud to be named one of three sites in the Northeast—and the only one north of Boston—to provide a new technology called the Shockwave Coronary IVL System. Shockwave IVL presents a major advancement in the treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD). It is a catheter which creates sonic pressure that travels through soft tissue and breaks up calcium that’s built up in the diseased artery. The same general approach has proven effective in treating kidney- and gallstones.

In addition to the above technologies, CMC was also the first in New Hampshire to offer the next-generation Impella 5.5, a small pump that is placed just under the surface of the skin and helps blood flow in patients whose hearts are weak after surgery. CMC also recently began offering the MAZE procedure, which is an ablation to treat aFib that is performed when a patient has open-heart surgery for another cardiac condition (often valve or bypass surgery). It has been shown to be more than 90-percent effective at restoring normal heart rhythm after surgery. Patients are also being enrolled in the GUIDE-HF trial to examine the use of the CardioMEMS heart failure monitoring system in a wider population of patients. CMC was the first hospital in New Hampshire to offer CardioMEMS as a heart failure treatment. 

In the photo—CMC’s Interventional Cardiology team (left to right):
Stephen Heo, MD, FACC
Fahad Gilani, MD, FACC, FSCAI
Xiaoyu Yang-Giulano, MD, FACC
Michelle Ouellette, MD, FACC, FSCAI
James Flynn, MD, FACC, FSCAI 
(not pictured, Jeffrey Bleakley, MD, FACC)