New Procedures, Distinctions at Hawaii Pacific Health Heart Centers


Stethoscope in heart shape on top of blue scrubs.

Every year, cardiovascular disease leads to more than 18,000 hospitalizations in Hawaii. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the state, but it is largely preventable. In a single year, Hawaii Pacific Health medical teams performed nearly 54,000 cardiac procedures and tests, and now HPH’s medical centers are expanding services for patients of all ages with innovative new procedures and the latest technologies.

In February, American Heart Month, here are some of HPH’s recent cardiac care milestones:

Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children is the first in Hawaii to offer a new alternative for open-heart surgery for patients with congenital heart defects. The Harmony™ valve is used in cases of pulmonary valve regurgitation, a potentially life-threatening condition where a valve doesn’t close all the way and allows blood to flow back into the heart. It is a transcatheter pulmonary valve (TPV), which is inserted through a very small incision and guided into place. Patients are often discharged the next day, compared to the longer recovery time of traditional open-heart surgery.

Pali Momi Medical Center is the first in Central and West Oahu to offer a new procedure to prevent strokes. A common cause of stroke is atrial fibrillation, where part of the heart does not contract normally, slowing the flow of blood, potentially creating blood clots. Pali Momiʻs cardiac team now offers a minimally invasive procedure called left atrial appendage occlusion, where an Amulet™ implant is inserted to block blood clots from flowing back into the bloodstream. Patients in Central and West Oahu can receive this closer to their neighborhood, and may be able to return home the same day.

Straub Medical Center’s Heart Center team has now performed more than 850 transcatheter aortic valve replacements, known as TAVR. The procedure, where doctors replace a heart valve through small incisions, is one of several minimally invasive procedures performed in Straub’s state-of-the-art hybrid suite. The specialized cardiac surgical team also performs Watchman™ implants, devices that prevent blood clots that can lead to strokes; grafts sections of healthy blood vessels to divert blood around blockages; and inserts cardioverter defibrillators to regulate heart rhythms.

Wilcox Medical Center’s Cardiac Services Department recently earned its reaccreditation for echocardiography, which uses ultrasound to capture images of the heart and blood flow. This distinction recognizes consistent quality care and a commitment to high standards for echocardiography for adults. Wilcox is expanding its services with two new state-of-the-art cardiac ultrasound systems which will provide more efficient, high-quality images for adults and kids. In addition, Wilcox’s cardiac team also recently received three new exercise stress testing systems, which are in use now.

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Liz Chun Uyehara