MIAMI. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Atrial fibrillation, or Afib, affects more than one million Americans. It’s the most common form of heart arrhythmia and can greatly increase the risk of stroke. Now, doctors are using a minimally invasive procedure known as the “ring and sling” to treat the heart.
Bob Hundevadt is a man on the move. As director of security for the Miami Heat, he covers a lot of ground. But last year, right before playoffs, he had what he thought was a cold that wouldn’t go away.
“Really got to the point where I dreaded nighttime, going to bed,” Hundevadt told Ivanhoe.
Bob’s symptoms were due to a heart that was out of rhythm. In addition, his mitral valve wasn’t closing properly, and blood was leaking back into his lungs. He dreaded the thought of heart surgery like his father had.
“Basically, just cut the sternum all the way up and then wired it together,” Hundevadt explained.
Instead, Bob had the option of a minimally invasive procedure pioneered by Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, Joseph Lamelas, MD, called “ring and sling”.
Dr. Lamelas makes a two-inch incision between the ribs on a patient’s right side and using special instruments, gains access to the area near the heart to insert the ring.
“When patients have a significant leak in the mitral valve, what the ring does, it brings the valve back to its normal dimensions,” Dr. Lamelas explained.
He and his team also insert a tube, or a sling.
“What the sling does is go inside the heart around that suspensory mechanism of the heart, or the valve, and it brings it together,” Dr. Lamelas said.
The ring and sling allowed Bob’s heart to quickly return to a normal shape, getting him back to the world championship winning team he loves without missing a beat.
Dr. Lamelas said the ring and sling procedure would work for most patients with weak heart muscles and a severe leak in the mitral valve.
While a few other surgeons across the country perform the “ring and sling” procedure, Dr. Lamelas is the first to make it minimally invasive.