Focus on St. Rita’s Health: Cardiology Program Services Expanded


Catheter-based aortic valve replacement represents the future of valve therapy. Without having to open your chest, the Structural Heart team is able to implant a fully functional heart valve without having all of the issues associated with standard open heart surgery. Patients can be discharged from the hospital within 48 hours and are standing and walking the same day after the procedure.

The procedure avoids the risk of general anesthesia as no breathing tube or breathing apparatus is used during the procedure. The patient is lightly sedated similar to a standard catheterization and in most cases talks to doctors during the procedure. Our team is currently successfully implanting patients and has so far achieved fantastic results comparable to major medical centers across the state and nationwide.

When you’ve had a stroke, worry # 1 is having another stroke. Our intervention team is able to provide two very specialized procedures to prevent stroke recurrence. First, some patients are born with a hole (called a patent foramen ovale or PFO) in the heart that allows clots to reach their brain, resulting in blocked arteries in the brain. As part of your treatment, a neurologist and cardiologist may conclude that shutting down this FOP will likely prevent further strokes.

Our Structural Heart team regularly closes these holes at St. Rita Medical Center. This procedure is performed in a standard cardiac catheterization laboratory, again while the patient is awake, thus avoiding the risk of anesthesia. The procedure lasts 30-60 minutes and the patient is discharged the next day.

Second, many patients have a condition called atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat) that requires treatment with a blood thinner. However, many of these same patients have reasons for not taking the anticoagulant due to the risk of falls, bleeding problems, drug intolerance, etc.

At St. Rita’s, we regularly perform the WATCHMAN procedure, a procedure that allows patients with atrial fibrillation to prevent stroke while avoiding the need for blood thinners. This state-of-the-art procedure is performed in the St. Rita Hybrid Operating Room. Patients are asleep for about an hour and when they wake up a small plug has been implanted in their heart that prevents clots from forming and causes a stroke.

Currently, Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Structural Heart Center continues to expand its services and the number of patients it treats. It is the only medical center in the region that can provide these services and manage patients who have had these services performed in other centers. The procedures are now available at St. Rita and have become the standard of care for all patients who suffer from conditions that can be treated without resorting to major surgeries.

Heart Specialists of St. Rita can provide these and many other services related to your heart in terms of imaging, cardiac artery stenting, leg artery management, arrhythmias, pacemakers. heart, aneurysm repair and more. Do not hesitate to call our structural cardiology center or our line of cardiology specialists for all your heart problems. We’re here to listen, we’re here to help, we’re here to serve.


Mercy Health – St. Rita’s, has appointed Dr. Sandeep M. Patel, MD, FACC, FSCAI, RPVI, as the new Medical Director of the Structural Heart Center. Since her appointment, the program has seen an explosion in the types of services offered at St. Rita, including valve-related heart disease management and stroke prevention. To make an appointment with Dr. Sandeep Patel, please call 419-996-5852.


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