In 2019, Jorge Castellanos, MD, joined Our Lady of the Lake’s Heart & Vascular Institute and Louisiana Cardiology Associates, adding his expertise and giving patients access to even more non-invasive alternatives to open heart surgery.
Dr. Castellanos is part of a new breed of cardiac specialists called structural interventionists. They perform intricate repairs within the heart via a thin catheter inserted into a blood vessel in the leg or lower abdomen.
For patients too high-risk for major surgery, these minimally invasive procedures aren’t only life-saving, but patients often get to go home within a day or two.
“These minimally invasive heart procedures are lifesaving,” said Dr. Castellanos, Baton Rouge’s only Fellowship-trained structural heart specialist.
The team of cardiac and thoracic specialists at Our Lady of the Lake Heart & Vascular Institute draws on an ever-growing toolbox of non-invasive therapies and devices. The newest procedure uses a device no bigger than a dime called a MitraClip. It’s inserted through a catheter up into the heart to repair leaking mitral valves.
In just over a year, Dr. Castellanos and his team have inserted more than 50 MitraClips, making Our Lady of the Lake the busiest center in the region for this state-of-the-art therapy.
“The craziest thing is we did it in a year that includes COVID — we stopped doing them in March and April,” he said.
Our Lady of the Lake Heart & Vascular Institute provides a full range of heart and stroke care, including treating blocked arteries with balloon angioplasty, stents and other techniques. The Institute has emerged as a regional leader in non-invasive heart care including Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, or TAVR; Watchman, an implant that can prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation; and the Micra, the world’s smallest pacemaker.
“We’re starting to develop clinical trials which give us access to the newest devices and techniques before they get released by the FDA,” Dr. Castellanos said. “Our program has enormous potential for growth.”