Posts Tagged ‘Catheterization’

CHD Pioneer passes away at 101

November 13, 2010

Dr. Richard J. Bing, who was profiled on this blog back in April, has passed away at the age of 101.

 

Bing

April 2, 2010

He was born in Germany and composed many works of classical music. He graduated from medical school twice. He worked with Charles Lindburgh. And he started a Cardiac Catheterization program at the hospital where heart surgery was born. Not only did Dr. Richard Bing see history being made, he helped make it.

Hired in 1942 as an instructor in the Johns Hopkins University Department of Medicine, Bing traveled from New York to his new job in Baltimore. Crossing the Chesapeake Bay on a ferry, Bing noted no less than six people with Cyanosis. Their destination, he surmised, was probably the hospital. It was two years before Blalock and Taussig would attempt the first Congenital Heart Surgery, but Johns Hopkins already had a reputation. If your child has a bad heart, it was said, get them to Hopkins.

There wasn’t much at all that could be done, but Dr. Helen Taussig knew almost everything there was to know about the human heart. Taussig was a huge believer in research, and would spend hours examining defective hearts. Despite her best efforts – she often asked the parents of her deceased patients for permission to dissect the heart, and spent hours studying them in her lab – there was very little progress being made. Even after the first heart operation, very little was known. There was ONE operation, and it was designed to help relive only ONE defect. Everyone else was still out in the cold.

By 1945  Dr. Alfred Blalock asked Bing to set up a Cardiac Catheterization unit at the hospital. Dr. Helen Taussig, who had already been eyeing him suspiciously, hit the roof. Dr. Bing explained their constant disagreements:

She was very jealous and guarded her territory; she considered the sick children as her own, having no family herself. She was also deaf, which increased her suspicion of the world beyond.

(That link contains not only a good description of Taussig-Bing Anomaly, but an in-depth look at Johns Hopkins Hospital during the Blalock-Bing-Taussig years. I highly recommend reading it!)

Dr. Bing eventually left Johns Hopkins, continuing to do major research in the Cath Lab. While at Wayne State University he did some of the early work involving PET scans, using computers belonging to Ford Motor Company to run the scanner.

Dr. Bing retired and now lives comfortably in California, and last year celebrated his 100th birthday!

New valve, no surgery!

August 18, 2009

So you need a new heart valve. Oh, boy. I bet you are just looking forward to the prospects of open heart surgery: having your chest split open, the pain when you cough (and if you think coughing hurts, just wait until your first post surgical sneeze!) and spending two to three months recovering. Or maybe you are like me… after all the problems with the scar tissue tearing and nearly bleeding out during my last operation, the docs aren’t going to go back in my chest any time soon. So what now?

The answer used to be “Just do the best you can,” because there were no other options. But now inserting a heart valve via catheterization is becoming more and more common – New York’s Presbyterian Hospital has implanted its 100th heart valve – and they never split anyone’s chest!

Before you pick up the phone and call the hospital, there is one problem – all 100 were done as part of a clinical trial. Most likely, they’ll have to turn you down, because these are tests of new valves carried out under controlled conditions. But every time they implant a valve, hopefully they learn something new. Presbyterian is replacing Aortic valves; a Pulmonary valve replacement was introduced a few weeks ago. It’s new to us, but they have been using it in Europe for some time.

So perhaps one day – not too far into the future – valve replacement by catheter will be the way things are done!

New Catheter patch for VSD repairs!

April 17, 2009

Here’s something new and very cool… a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) patch that can be inserted via Catheter! It’s been in use in Europe and has just been approved for use by the FDA.

Fixing a VSD through Catheterization is difficult, to say the least. Entry to the heart is through the blood vessels, and normally all the blood vessels connect to the upper chambers of the heart, the Left and Right Atrium. Once inside an Atrium, the Catheter has to very gently be threaded through a heart valve into the Ventricle. Then the VSD must be located, the  Catheter moved to the correct location, and the patch inserted.

And no sudden moves please… unless you want to damage that heart valve! Most patients (and their doctors) would prefer that  you didn’t!