Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation: Beyond Meds
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia treated in clinical practice. Lifetime risk of AF is estimated to be 24% in elderly patients. Stroke is the most devastating complication of AF, with AF patients experiencing a fivefold higher risk of stroke and a twofold increased risk of all-cause mortality. Taking all patients into consideration, the annual stroke risk is 5%, but can be as high as 15% depending on many common clinical factors. The percentage of strokes caused by AF increases with age. AF has been estimated to cause 20%-38% of all strokes, and is particularly challenging because most AF is asymptomatic. AF-related ischemic strokes are associated with significantly higher morbidity, mortality, and health care expenses compared to stroke from other etiologies. Thromboembolic cerebral ischemic events in patients with nonvalvular AF occur due to the formation of atrial thrombi, generally arising in the left atrial appendate (LAA), where it is thought that >90% of the atrial thrombi originate. Read Beyond Meds full article »
For more information on the WATCHMAN procedure, call 469.507.3934.
Photograph courtesy of the Boston Scientific Corporation.
Management of Severe Aortic Stenosis: What are the options?
Patients with severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis face a poor prognosis if their aortic valve is not replaced. Historically, replacing the aortic valve required open heart surgery during which the patient was placed on cardiopulmonary bypass while their native aortic valve was excised and replaced with a prosthetic valve. However, some patients were deemed too risky to undergo open-heart surgery. Over the last decade, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a less-invasive procedure that does not require a sternotomy or cardiopulmonary bypass, has been studied in a series of clinical trials compared to open-heart surgery. In 2011, the first TAVR device received FDA approval in the United States for patients that were too sick for open-heart surgery. Since then, TAVR valves received FDA-approvals for high-risk (2014) and intermediate-risk patients (2016). According to the STS/ACC TVT Registry™, in this country there are over 75,000 high and intermediate-risk patients, and these groups comprises approximately 15% of candidates for aortic valve replacement. Read Severe Aortic Stenosis full article »
For additional information about clinical trials, contact the Research Office at 469.814.4720 or send an e-mail to
Teaching on the Cutting Edge
For nearly a decade, The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano has pursued innovation in cardiovascular healthcare, offering novel therapies and procedures for a variety of heart diseases. The large volume of procedures and surgeries performed at The Heart Hospital provides a unique opportunity for cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to train the next generation of innovators in cardiovascular healthcare. Under the leadership of Michael DiMaio, MD, Medical Director - Residency Fellowship Program, and Elizabeth Holper, MD, Chief Quality Officer, a yearlong Structural Heart Fellowship was initiated in July 2016.
Read the Teaching full article »
For more information on the Fellowship Program, send an e-mail to
A True Team Effort
Patients with valve disease may benefit from consultation with a variety of experts including cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional cardiologists, imaging cardiologists, and general cardiologists. Meeting with all of these professionals, collectively called a "Heart Team," at the same time, however, can prove to be a significant challenge. The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano was one of the first institutions to develop a Heart Team to treat patients with aortic valve disease. Based upon this experience, a Mitral Valve Heart Team was recently formed at The Heart Hospital.
Read the Team Effort full article »
For referrals to the Mitral Valve Heart Team, call 469.507.3934.
Time is of the Essence: "Code Aorta" Protocol Working to Assess and Treat Aortic Dissections Quickly
Aortic dissections have been described as ticking time bombs—the sooner patients with this condition are treated, the better the outcome.
Read the full article on Code Aorta »
The number to call for the Patient Transfer Center is 214.820.6444.
Physicians are members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Health Care System's subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and are neither employees nor agents of those medical centers, The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano or Baylor Health Care System.