AHH Blog

One Million Dollar Grant, Ticagrelor

Jun 25, 2014

1 Million Dollar Astra Zeneca grant was funded for studying the effects of Ticagrelor in patients with peripheral arterial disease using intravascular optical coherence tomography. Dr. Mehmet has recently secured an investigator initiated clinical research grant from Astra Zeneca. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is the leading cause of limb loss in the United States. Although the known conventional risk factors for coronary artery disease are also associated with development of PAD, postmortem data on amputee’s suggest that there may be a different pathology for PAD, mainly intraluminal clot formation and progression. The preliminary work that we have done in our PAD patients at AHH showed that intraluminal clot formation indeed plays a significant role in PAD both in early as well as late phases of the disease. With the AZ grant, we will study the effects of Ticagrelor which is the most potent antiplatelet agent that is available in the market, the long term patency and clot burden in patients with PAD following stent placement. Our hypothesis is that with use of Ticagrelor there will be less intraluminal clot formation and increased patency of stents in patients with PAD. Dr. Lendel and Cawich will also be the coinvestigators of this important study.

FDA-Approved Diagnostic System Now Available at Arkansas Heart Hospital

Nov 21, 2013


Contact: Rachelle Lamphere
Director of Marketing

FDA-Approved Diagnostic System Now Available at Arkansas Heart Hospital

New diagnostic system offers advanced insight into patient’s arteries to improve diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease

Little Rock, AR – November 18, 2013 – Arkansas Heart Hospital is the only publically accessible hospital in central Arkansas now offering St. Jude Medical’s ILUMIEN PCI Optimization System as a treatment option for patients suffering from coronary artery disease (CAD). The ILUIMIEN system is the first and only integrated diagnostic technology that combines optical coherence tomography (OCT) and fractional flow reserve (FFR) technologies on one platform.

Using the combined ILUMIEN system, physicians at Arkansas Heart Hospital gain advanced physiological and anatomical insights that can improve the diagnosis and treatment of CAD.

Patients with coronary artery disease experience decreased oxygen delivery to the heart due to plaque or cholesterol build-up inside arteries.  Dr. Ian Cawich, an interventional cardiologist at Arkansas Heart Hospital was the first to use ILUMIEN at the hospital.

“The key to optimizing treatment of coronary artery disease is knowing which blockage needs treatment and how to treat it,” said Dr. Cawich.  “The ILUMIEN system allows me to have the information I need in one place and helps me accurately diagnose and optimize therapy for my patients.”

With the integration of these two technologies, Arkansas Heart Hospital physicians can identify the precise measurement and dimensions of culprit narrowings responsible for obstructing blood flow to a patient’s’ heart, as well as determine vessel size and structure.

About Arkansas Heart Hospital

Arkansas Heart Hospital is a nationally recognized and award winning hospital dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.  Arkansas Heart Hospital offers advanced technology teamed with highly trained support staff and Arkansas’ leading cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons. Arkansas Heart Hospital is the only Accredited Chest Pain Center in central Arkansas, and is a cardiac training center for the American Heart Association.  For more information, please visit www.arheart.com


Hot Springs Open House

Jul 23, 2013

Arkansas Heart Hospital is pleased to announce the opening of our new clinic in Hot Springs.
Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hot Springs Open House

SCAI Survey Highlights Need for Adv Structural Heart Disease Training Interventional Cardiologists

Jul 30, 2012

Task Force Paper Represents Latest Effort to Advance Training Programs for Interventional Cardiologists

WASHINGTON, D.C.  (July 30, 2012) – New structural heart disease (SHD) interventions over the past decade are driving demand for advanced interventional cardiology training programs, but training in this specialized area remains in its infancy, according to new survey results released today by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI)‘s Structural Heart Disease Early Career Task Force and e-published in Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions. The survey found that while the majority of interventional cardiology training programs involve structural interventions – such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement, pulmonic valve implantation and mitral valve repair – few offer dedicated SHD fellowships.  

“Structural heart disease care has changed significantly in recent years, and new treatments require specialized training on complex interventions,” said Mehmet Cilingiroglu, M.D., FSCAI, associate professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Heart and Vascular Institute in Pennsylvania and an author of the paper.  “Our survey found SHD training remains in its early stages. As we advance care for patients, it’s essential that we establish structured training programs with standardized requirements that can help new interventional cardiologists build their skills in this important area.”  

The survey of 50 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited interventional cardiology programs found:

  • 86 percent of institutions responding to the survey offer percutaneous treatments for SHD
  • Among those institutions, 29 percent (n=9) offer a one-year training program in SHD after completion of interventional cardiology training.
  • The majority (51.6 percent, n=16) integrate structural training with coronary and peripheral intervention training.
  • More than a third of training (39.3 percent) is achieved by assigning cases throughout the year to the fellow, while a quarter takes place through participation in specialized conferences or courses.
  • More than half of program directors (58.6 percent) believe time dedicated to SHD training in the first year of interventional cardiology training is not enough.
  • The paper identified a number of challenges to achieving optimal training, both through current programs and in the pursuit of developing additional training and fellowship programs, including:
  • Oftentimes the average number of SHD procedures performed per year in the studied institutions is less than the recommended number of procedures to gain proficiency.
  • There are a total of 15 types of SHD procedures and currently no interventional cardiology fellowship programs in the country that can offer sufficient training in all 15 types. One solution identified to overcome this is combining rotations in different institutions so training in all the required types of procedures can be achieved.
  • Several types of procedures are trial-restricted and inaccessible to the training fellows.

Based on the survey, the task force called for a structured curriculum for SHD training with uniform requirements. “As interventional cardiology advances, so do our education and training needs,” said J. Jeffrey Marshall, M.D., FSCAI, FACC, SCAI president and medical director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at Northeast Georgia Heart Center. “SCAI is committed to continuously improving education programs to equip cardiologists with the necessary tools and resources to provide the best care for our patients.” The SCAI Structural Heart Disease Early Career Task Force was established in 2011 to provide a forum for interventional cardiologists who are seeking advanced SHD training or are currently involved in a SHD program.


New device to help those with PAD

Mar 12, 2012

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV)—Arkansas Heart Hospital becomes the first place in the U.S. to use a revolutionary device that helps patients suffering from peripheral artery disease or PAD.

Click here to read more at TodaysTHV.

Medical Breakthrough Tested in Arkansas

Mar 12, 2012

LITTLE ROCK, AR - It’s no bigger than a strand of hair, but it’s changing the way cardiologists at the Arkansas Heart Hospital operate. “It’s like working with your eyes open as opposed to working with your eyes closed,” said Dr. Ian Cawich, one of the first cardiologists in the U.S. to use the device. For the first time in the country, doctors at the Arkansas Heart Hospital are operating with the Ocelot - the first ever catheter with a camera on the end allowing doctors to see inside a clogged artery versus just the two dimensional X-ray view.

Click here to read more by Fox 16 News.

AHH ranks 1st of US hospitals in aortic valve replacement without open heart surgery

Mar 12, 2012

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Arkansas Heart Hospital and Interventional Cardiologists Dr. David Mego and Dr. William Rollefson became the first in this region of the United States to implant the SAPIEN transcatheter aortic heart valve as an FDA-approved standard of care.

Click Here to read article on THV.

Arkansas Heart Hospital Enrolls First U.S. PAD Patient In CONNECT II Global Clinical Trial

Mar 07, 2012

Contact: Rachelle Lamphere
Director of Marketing
Arkansas Heart Hospital

Landmark treatment successful in first U.S. patient

Little Rock, AR March 6, 2012— Arkansas Heart Hospital announces its participation in CONNECT II, a global clinical trial conditionally approved by the FDA that gives physicians access to a sophisticated new imaging technology tool to fight Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). The technology, called Ocelot, helps to eliminate the need for bypass surgeries and/or amputations in patients with the disease. Each year, nearly 200,000 amputations occur as a result of PAD and many of them can be avoided.

PAD, affecting between 8 and 12 million adults in the U.S. alone, is caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries that blocks blood flow to the legs and feet. Because some blockages can become so severe and difficult to penetrate with traditional catheters, patients (unaware of other options) often resort to undergo extremely invasive bypass surgeries that result in even higher health risks and lengthy, painful recoveries. Patients over 50 often face amputation, the worst-case scenario associated with PAD.

Ian Cawich, M.D., Interventional Cardiologist and David Mego, M.D., Interventional Cardiologist and Director of Interventional Cardiology at Arkansas Heart Hospital, as part of CONNECT II, will use Ocelot on enrolled patients to help restore blood flow in completely blocked arteries in patients’ legs through a simple two-millimeter skin incision, helping to avoid amputation.  They are also leading other co-investigators at Arkansas Heart Hospital.

“This technology is a big leap forward, combining inside the artery imaging and tools to deal with the blockage. For the first time, we’ve been able to combine imaging inside the artery while treating the vessel at the same time,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, M.D., PhD, President and CEO of Arkansas Heart Hospital. “That advanced technology enables the cardiologist to visualize their progress in real time. The imaging technology is on the catheter, which is inserted into the patient.”

Ocelot is the first-ever CTO crossing catheter that can access exact regions of the peripheral vasculature where the blockages occur, while simultaneously providing physicians with visualization for real-time navigation during an intervention.

CONNECT II trial procedures using Ocelot will permit patients to leave the hospital within hours of the minimally invasive procedure and return to normal activities within a few days.

More about CONNECT II and Ocelot

CONNECT II is a prospective, multi-center, non-randomized global clinical study that will evaluate Ocelot on 100 PAD patients with femoropopliteal CTO lesions at 17 sites, including three in the EU, where Ocelot received CE Mark in 2011. To learn more about CONNECT II and the first global patients enrolled, visit: http://avinger.com/newsroom.

More about PAD, Importance of Early Detection

Often dismissed as normal signs of aging, symptoms of PAD include painful cramping, numbness, or discoloration in the legs or feet. Hospitalization costs of PAD alone are estimated to exceed $21 billion annually, largely due to late detection and patients experiencing a decreased quality of life from invasive bypass surgery and/or amputation. 

Arkansas Heart Hospital encourages those that are experiencing any of the above symptoms to ask their doctor about their risks for PAD, as early detection is the key to saving limbs.

About Avinger

Founded in 2007 by renowned cardiologist and medical device entrepreneur Dr. John B. Simpson, Avinger develops next-generation catheter-based technologies for the treatment of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Leveraging core competencies in medical device catheter engineering and intravascular Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), Avinger markets Wildcat and Kittycat catheters, and received CE Mark in 2011 to market Ocelot, the first ever real-time OCT crossing catheter. www.avinger.com.


Arkansas Heart Hospital and Saline Memorial Hospital Announce Affiliation

Jan 12, 2012

The Cardiac Needs of the Patient Come First

Little Rock, AR - January 12, 2012 Saline Memorial Hospital has partnered with Arkansas Heart Hospital to create a highly coordinated partnership capable of ensuring high-quality, cost-effective cardiac care.  By building on the already strong reputation and resources of Saline Memorial Hospital, Arkansas Heart Hospital will continue to develop existing services, making them more efficient while introducing new services to respond to patient needs. Cardiologists from Arkansas Heart Hospital will see patients in Benton five days a week providing diagnostic, non-invasive testing and invasive services.  They will also provide 24/7 call coverage to the Saline Memorial Hospital Emergency Department for acute cardiac care needs.

This is a promising new chapter for Saline Memorial Hospital and for patients, said Carla Robertson, interim CEO. This new partnership with Arkansas Heart Hospital along with the existing services provided by Saline Heart Group will enhance cardiovascular care for our community.
Saline Memorials partnership with Arkansas Heart Hospital provides patients with the opportunity to receive care from visiting specialists and allows seamless access to specialty services at Arkansas Heart Hospital when appropriate. The close relationship with Arkansas Heart Hospital is also evident through professional relationships between physicians, allied health staff, administrators and all employees who work collaboratively throughout the system.

Arkansas Heart Hospital will provide an unparalleled experience as the most trusted partner for cardiac care.  Arkansas Heart Hospital is committed to providing quality healthcare close to home with clinics in 30 communities throughout the state of Arkansas. Our goal is to provide this community high quality cardiac care and the partnership of Arkansas Heart Hospital and Saline Memorial Hospital just makes sense. There is a long rich history of several decades of physicians from both hospitals collaborating in patient care. The opportunity to rekindle this relationship is exciting and one that both partners are looking forward to, said Dr. Bruce Murphy, President and CEO of Arkansas Heart Hospital.






LRCC Name Change

Aug 01, 2011

Official press release on name change of Little Rock Cardiology Clinic to Arkansas Heart Hospital Clinic.

Click here to read the press release, in PDF format.