Via Christi Taking Cardiovascular Care to a New Level

Friday, May 4, 2018

Left to right: Richard Steckley, MD; Sanjay Khicha, MD; Bassem Chehab, MD; Brett Grizzell, MD; and Physician Assistant Richard Allenbach

Via Christi Hospital St. Francis has long been recognized as one of Kansas’ cardiovascular leaders – in the quality, depth and breadth of the specialized cardiac services it offers.

It features:

  • An accredited Chest Pain Center
  • An accredited noninvasive vascular lab, three heart catheterization and two electrophysiology labs
  • A 22-bed Cardiac ICU and 18-bed Cardio-Thoracic ICU, both staffed and equipped to care for the most acutely ill heart patients
  • An accredited Heart Failure Disease Management program
  • A Hybrid OR developed specifically for Via Christi’s Structural Heart program

Via Christi’s Structural Heart program began as a conversation in 2002 among hospital leadership and community physicians about the need to bring trans-catheter aortic valve replacement procedures and other emerging, lifesaving structural heart procedures to south-central Kansas, says Sherry Hausmann, Executive Leader for Cardiovascular Services at Via Christi.

“Today, we’re a comprehensive program — one that offers a vast spectrum of therapies in order to match patients’ needs and desires to receive leading-edge treatment close to home and family,” says Bassem Chehab, MD, of Cardiovascular Consultants of Kansas, who as the program’s medical director works closely with a core team that includes surgeons Brett Grizzell, MD, and Sanjay Khicha, MD, both with Wichita Surgical Specialists; cardiologist Richard Steckley, MD, Cardiovascular Consultants of Kansas; and Physician Assistant Richard Allenbach, Director of the Via Christi Heart Valve Clinic.

The now-mature program’s team approach has gone far beyond its initial introduction of TAVR, a procedure that since October 2013 has benefited nearly 600 patients with severe aortic stenosis. It has expanded to include MitraClip — which to date has benefited nearly 150 patients with mitral valve regurgitation — and a growing list of other less-invasive structural heart procedures.

That, in turn, has led to the program being selected as a site for numerous pivotal clinical trials including:

  • The EARLY-TAVR Trial, which will evaluate patients diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis who have not yet developed symptoms.
  • The PARTNER III Trial, which is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of implanting Edwards’ SAPIEN 3 in low-risk patients suffering from severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis.
  • The COAPT Trial, which is designed to study the safety and efficacy of the MitraClip device in heart failure patients who have functional mitral regurgitation and are not appropriate for mitral value surgery.
  • The Portico Trial, which is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Abbott’s Portico, a TAVR device not yet commercially available.
  • The Amulet Trial, which is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the Amulet device in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation as compared to the commercially available WATCHMAN left atrial appendage closure device.

“Our team isn’t just keeping Via Christi and Kansas on the leading edge of heart care,” Hausmann says. “They’re helping break new ground in the area of structural heart for patients throughout the United States and beyond.”