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Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at Morristown Memorial Hospital is First in NJ to Participate in CoreValve® US Pivotal Trial

Trial to Test Innovative, Non-Surgical Methods to Treat Aortic Stenosis

MORRISTOWN, NJ MARCH 2011 – Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at Morristown Memorial Hospital today announced its participation in the Medtronic CoreValve US Pivotal Trial, which will evaluate a new, percutaneous, or non-surgical, alternative to open-heart surgery for patients with severe aortic stenosis. Morristown Memorial is the first hospital in New Jersey and is among 40 clinical sites across the US to participate in this trial. Today, cardiovascular surgeons at Gagnon implanted new valves in two patients.

Aortic stenosis is a heart condition that occurs when the aortic valve narrows, preventing it from properly opening and closing, and diminishing blood flow between the heart and the rest of the body. This condition affects 300,000 people worldwide, and when severe, as many as 50 percent of patients may die within two years without appropriate treatment.

“There is a pressing need to find and evaluate treatment options for those living with aortic stenosis, which can lead to heart failure or, in the worst cases, be deadly,” said John Brown, MD, principal investigator of the study, who is also Chief, Cardiovascular Surgery at Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at Morristown Memorial and Overlook Hospitals. “It is rewarding for Gagnon to be among the first cardiac care centers in the US to participate in this trial, as we continually strive to provide the most innovative and comprehensive cardiac care for our patients.”

The CoreValve System, which is approved in Europe, is designed to provide a minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment option for patients with symptomatic, severe aortic stenosis who are at high risk, or are ineligible, for open-heart surgery. Physicians channel a catheter (thin tube) with a prosthetic valve through a small opening in the patient’s femoral artery to reach the heart. The physician then guides the CoreValve System to the aortic valve, where it self-expands to replace the diseased aortic valve; the procedure is completed without open-heart surgery or surgical removal of the native valve.

“At Morristown Memorial, we perform more cardiac surgeries than any other hospital in the state,” said Robert Kipperman, MD, an invasive cardiologist who is also an investigator in the study. “That is one of the many reasons we are the only New Jersey hospital selected to participate in this ground breaking trial.”

The most common cause of aortic stenosis is age-associated degeneration and calcification of the aortic valve, which often causes symptoms in elderly patients. The condition is more likely to affect men than women, with 80 percent of adults with symptomatic aortic stenosis patients being male. Symptoms of the disease can include fatigue, dizziness, chest pain or pressure, heart murmur, shortness of breath during activity, heart palpitations and fainting.

If individuals feel that they might be eligible to participate in the trial, they may call 973-971-7001 or 1-800-247-9580 or go to for more information.

Learn more about  the Medtronic CoreValve US Pivotal Trial >

Additional Information About Aortic Stenosis
Aortic stenosis, which is most prevalent in the elderly population, inhibits blood flow between the heart and the body and causes symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, and heart palpitations. While the heart initially compensates for stenosis by thickening its walls to help push blood through the valve, eventually this extra work weakens the heart and leads to an insufficient supply of oxygen-rich blood and sometimes causes a back-up of blood into the lungs. Untreated, aortic valve stenosis can lead to serious heart problems including heart failure and even death. Other than surgery, patients with this condition have had few, if any, successful treatment options.

About Atlantic Health
Atlantic Health is one of the largest non-profit health care systems in New Jersey and includes Overlook Hospital in Summit and Morristown Memorial. The two hospitals have a combined total of 1,154 licensed beds and more than 2,500 affiliated physicians providing a wide array of health care services to the residents of Northern and Central New Jersey. Specialty services include cardiovascular care, neurosciences, pediatrics, cancer care; orthopedics, diabetes care, gastroenterology, trauma and emergency medicine, behavioral health, minimally invasive surgery, radiology and advanced diagnostics, women’s health and maternal fetal medicine, home and hospice care and rehabilitation services. Atlantic Health is a Major Clinical Research Affiliate with The Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Atlantic Health’s hospitals are accredited by The Joint Commission.

Atlantic Health has been chosen for the past two consecutive years by FORTUNE® as one of the magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For®.” Atlantic Health has also been recognized four times by AARP as one of the organization’s Best Employers for Workers over 50. Atlantic Health was recently named among the top 250 innovative business technology organizations throughout the country by InformationWeek and one of Health Care’s Most Wired organizations of 2010 by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, the journal of the American Hospital Association.

Media Contacts:

  • Janina Scheytt Hecht
  • Public Relations Manager
  • 908-522-2142
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  • Morristown Medical Center
  • 100 Madison Avenue
  • Morristown, NJ 07960
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