Borough Park

Maimonides doctors can replace heart valves without major surgery

February 6, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Maimonides Medical Center uses groundbreaking technology when it comes to treating heart patients, according to officials, who said the hospital performs the TAVR procedure. This is the operating room where the procedure is done. Photo courtesy Maimonides Medical Center
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A heart operation is never going to be as simple as going to the dentist, but doctors at Maimonides Medical Center are working on ways to reduce cardiac complications for their patients.

February is National Heart Month, and at the Maimonides Heart & Vascular Center, doctors are touting the fact that the hospital was one of the first medical institutions in the country to offer a groundbreaking procedure called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) in which cardiologists replace faulty heart valves without putting the patient through a major surgery.

The Heart & Vascular Center is located within the hospital at 4802 10th Ave. in Borough Park.

“Only a handful of heart centers in the nation are able to provide this option for heart valve patients,” said Dr. Jacob Shani, chairman of cardiology and co-leader of the TAVR program at the Heart & Vascular Center. “Our team of experts is unrivaled in exploring and developing the best therapies for cardiac problems.”

Shani has been a practicing interventional cardiologist for 27 years and has extensive experience with high-risk procedures. 

TAVR is an innovative approach to the treatment of a condition known as severe aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve opening). Instead of standard open-heart surgery, doctors place a catheter in the femoral artery and replace the valve without surgical incisions in the chest.

“TAVR is minimally invasive, with all the benefits that implies,” said Dr. Greg Ribakove, chief of cardiothoracic surgery and co-leader of the TAVR program. “This is clearly the best option for certain patients who cannot undergo open-heart surgery.”  

Ribakove has been on the forefront for research and development of minimally invasive heart surgery, according to Maimonides officials, who said he has been published extensively in medical journals throughout his career.

In clinical trials, TAVR has been shown to significantly improve patient survival rates compared to non-surgical therapy, according to Maimonides officials. It also significantly improves a patient’s symptoms and quality-of-life and reduces repeat hospitalizations, experts said.

Maimonides is becoming quite experienced in TAVR procedures. The hospital’s Heart & Vascular performed its 100th TAVR in the fall of 2014. The patient was a 93-year-old woman.

The federal Food and Drug Administration has approved TAVR for patients who have severe aortic stenosis and who are not eligible for open-heart surgery.  

The specialists at the Heart & Vascular Center partner with referring doctors, patients and their families in exploring the most appropriate treatments for each case.

To learn more about TAVR, call 718-283-7364 or visit

The Heart & Valve Center will mark National Heart Month with a flag raising ceremony on Friday, Feb. 13 in the lobby of the hospital’s main building at 4802 10th Ave., at 9:30 a.m.

Pamela Brier, president and CEO of Maimonides Medical Center, and Dominick Stanzione, executive vice president and COO, will be among those attending the ceremony.

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