El Paso physicians learn minimally-invasive procedure to treat heart defect

Health and Medical

Atrial Septal defect is a defect when there is a hole in one of the walls of the heart. 

The opening can leak new blood to the chamber old blood runs through. 

The defect used to be operated with open-heart surgery, but modern medicine is treating the defect with a minimally-invasive procedure.

Physicians at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso are learning the new method so they can perform it on patients in the region.

The procedure includes inserting a catheter through the groin. The catheter then reaches the heart where a circular coil is placed to close the hole.

Local cardiologist Harsha Naagarajarao, M.D. already performs the surgery at University Medical Center. 

Also serving as an assistant professor in the cardiology department at TTUHSC El Paso, he’s mentoring other physicians to help treat a demanding area.

“You can have a hole of your heart closed without cutting your chest open. There’s an unmet need in the El Paso area. Some patients may require surgery, but not all of them,” Dr. Nagarajarao said.

To become fully credited, the TTUHSC El Paso will need to perform the surgery 25 times and 10 every year after that.

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