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“Holes in the Heart”

Join Lexington Medical Center cardiologist Robert A. Leonardi, MD, FACC in Sumter on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 for a free presentation called “Holes in the Heart.” The event is part of Lexington Medical Center’s quarterly patient education series in Sumter, featuring medical topics that are important to our community.

Dr. Robert Leonardi

Dr. Robert Leonardi

“Holes in the Heart” will take place on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. inside Sumter Cardiology at 540 Physicians Lane in Sumter.

Lexington Medical Center’s full range of cardiac services includes non-surgical closure for “holes in the heart” known as atrial septal defects (ASDs) and patent foramen ovale (PFO).

Courtesy: American Heart Association

Courtesy: American Heart Association

ASD and PFO are congenital heart defects, meaning that people are born with them. Many patients are unaware of these “holes in the heart,” which can cause heart failure and have been associated with increased risk of stroke. Dr. Leonardi will discuss the problems these holes can cause, how they are diagnosed, and available treatments.

Affiliated with Duke Medicine, Lexington Medical Center offers comprehensive cardiovascular care with state-of-the-art technology. That includes open heart surgery, catheterizations, angioplasty, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to replace the aortic valve with a catheter instead of open heart surgery, and an electrophysiology program that diagnoses and treats abnormal heart rhythms known as cardiac arrhythmias.

Lexington Medical Center has full chest pain accreditation with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), demonstrating its ability to quickly assess, diagnose and treat heart attack patients. And, the hospital is a Primary Stroke Center, excelling at treating stroke patients promptly.

Dr. Leonardi is a physician with Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice.

At the patient education presentation, light refreshments will be served. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. For more information, visit

The Most Experienced TAVR Facility in the Midlands

Reaching a significant milestone in comprehensive cardiovascular care for the people of our community, Lexington Medical Center has become the most experienced hospital in the Midlands for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR. The procedure allows doctors to replace the heart’s aortic valve with a catheter instead of open heart surgery.

Lexington Medical Center is celebrating the one-year anniversary of beginning its TAVR program. So far, the hospital has performed more than 60 TAVR procedures, more than any other hospital in the Midlands. TAVR is considered the greatest advance in cardiology since coronary angioplasty.

Currently, TAVR is for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are high-risk candidates for open heart surgery because of their age, history of heart disease, or other health issues.

Lexington Medical Center's TAVR Team. L to R: Jeffrey Travis, MD; Robert Malanuk, MD, FACC; Kristen Davis, MSN, RN, CCRN; Robert Leonardi, MD, FACC; Dee Prastein, MD

Lexington Medical Center’s TAVR Team. L to R: Jeffrey Travis, MD; Robert Malanuk, MD, FACC; Kristen Davis, MSN, RN, CCRN; Robert Leonardi, MD, FACC; Dee Prastein, MD

“We feel so lucky to be able to help these people, many of whom are debilitated by heart failure and did not have any good options in the past,” said Dr. Robert Leonardi of Lexington Cardiology at Lexington Medical Center, who works with a team of clinicians on the hospital’s TAVR team.

Patients with severe aortic stenosis have a narrowed aortic valve that does not allow blood to flow efficiently. As the heart works harder to pump enough blood through the smaller opening in the valve, the heart eventually becomes weak. Over time, that can lead to life-threatening heart problems.

To replace the diseased aortic valve with TAVR, the new aortic valve is compressed into a catheter. Doctors thread the catheter through the body to the inside of the diseased aortic valve.

Then, they deploy the new valve inside the diseased aortic valve, which becomes the anchor for the new valve. The new valve is functional immediately and normal blood flow is restored.

Lexington Medical Center performed the first fully percutaneous TAVR procedure in South Carolina. With this minimally invasive technique, doctors deployed the new aortic valve through just a small puncture in the femoral artery in the leg. The hospital also performed the first TAVR procedure in South Carolina where the patient was awake, and it remains the only South Carolina hospital routinely doing the procedures fully percutaneously, without putting patients to sleep, and without the need for a transesophageal echocardiogram. This “minimalist” approach has been shown to make recovery from valve replacement easier.

Lexington Medical Center hosted a reception on the hospital campus in May with patients who underwent TAVR, clinicians and hospital employees.

To learn more about cardiovascular care at Lexington Medical Center, visit

Heart & Sole Pictures!

There was a record crowd at the Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler on Saturday, April 25. More than 1,300 women participated, including more than 400 Lexington Medical Center employees. Here are some employees on Team LMC along the course!