27 cardiology firsts in 2021

Since the start of 2021, hospitals and health systems across the U.S. have performed many novel cardiology procedures.

Here are 27 "firsts" in the field of cardiology that Becker's has covered since January 2021, starting with the most recent: 

1. Cleveland Clinic doctors were the first in the world to successfully implant leadless pacemaker defibrillator systems in two patients as part of a global clinical trial sponsored by Boston Scientific, Becker's reported Dec. 3.

2. New Brunswick, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital was the first cardiovascular center of excellence in the state to use a drug-coated balloon angioplasty therapy for patients whose arteries have narrowed again following initial treatment.

3. Cardiologists at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine in Columbus were the first in the nation to use a new system to treat hospitalized patients with acute decompensated heart failure, or ADHF,  the university said Nov. 2.

4. An 81-year-old man with chronic myocardial ischemia became the first patient in the nation to receive an investigative cell therapy for heart disease at Madison, Wis.-based UW Health, the system said Oct. 29. 

5. Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center in July became the first in the state to treat a heart attack patient with a new device that makes enlarged, weak hearts smaller. 

6. Physicians at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital's heart institute successfully completed the country's first mitral valve replacement using a new minimally invasive system, the health system said Sept. 30. 

7. Durham, N.C.-based Duke University Hospital successfully performed the country's first pediatric heart transplant using the donation after circulatory death method, the hospital said Sept. 9. 

8. Cardiologists at Cincinnati-based UC Health performed the country's first endoscopic triple valve surgery on a 63-year-old heart failure patient July 12 at the health system's UC Medical Center.

9. Cardiologists at Chicago-based Northwestern Medicine became the first in the U.S. to use a 3D intracardiac echo device to treat a patient with heart arrhythmia, Becker's reported July 20.

10. Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare became the first health system in Georgia to perform 1,000 heart transplants July 20. 

11. The surgical team at Durham, N.C.-based Duke University Hospital, part of Duke Health, on July 12 became the first in the U.S. to implant a new-generation artificial heart on a 39-year-old patient with heart failure. 

12. University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, part of Ann Arbor-based Michigan Medicine, was among the first in the U.S. to perform a catheter-based pulmonary valve replacement on a congenital heart disease patient.

13. St. Cloud, Minn.-based CentraCare performed the world's first structural heart procedure using 4D hologram technology, the health system said June 23. 

14. University Hospitals in Cleveland became one of the first in the U.S. to treat a heart failure patient using cardiac contractility modulation, or CCM, a novel therapy meant to improve heart contractions. 

15. Cardiologists at Detroit-based Henry Ford Hospital were the first in the nation and second worldwide to implant a circulatory support device meant to improve blood flow among patients with acute decompensated heart failure and declining kidney function, known as cardiorenal syndrome. 

16. Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk, Va., part of Sentara Healthcare, performed the state's first donation after circulatory death — a novel heart transplant method that allows surgeons to revive a donor heart after it has stopped beating, Williamsburg Yorktown Daily reported May 19.

17. Physicians from Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital and USF Health's interventional cardiology team were the first to treat a cardiac patient with high frequency optical coherence tomography, or HF-OCT, a novel intravascular imaging technology, the hospital said May 12. 

18. Galion (Ohio) Hospital, a part of Avita Health System, became the first critical access hospital in the U.S. to implant a heart failure monitoring device, the organization said April 22.

19. An interventional cardiologist at Duluth, Minn.-based Essentia Health performed the state's first intravascular lithotripsy, a procedure in which a balloon is inserted into the artery and delivers sonic pressure waves to break off calcified plaque, which optimizes stent placement, the Duluth News Tribune reported April 10. 

20. The FDA approved the Harmony Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve System — the world's first nonsurgical heart valve device meant to treat patients with severe pulmonary valve regurgitation, which often is a result of congenital heart disease, the agency announced March 26. 

21. Clinicians at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based HonorHealth implanted a leadless pacemaker in the first U.S. patient as part of a new clinical trial with the HonorHealth Research Institute, the organization said March 22.

22. Stereotactic body radiation therapy was successfully used to treat a man with ventricular tachycardia, a heart rhythm disorder, for the first time in Florida by specialists at Baptist Health's Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute and Miami Cancer Institute, the health system announced March 24. 

23. USF Health and Tampa General Hospital are the first in Florida to offer a new procedure involving a pacemaker-like device to treat central sleep apnea, a disorder that causes regular breathing disruptions during sleep and can lead to heart failure if untreated, the health system said Feb. 19. 

24. Nebraska Medicine became the first health system in the U.S. to implant the Synergy Megatron — a new type of cardiac stent designed to fit larger vessels. 

25. Austin, Texas-based Dell Children's Medical Center, performed its first Berlin Heart device implant in a 3-month-old girl on Jan. 11. 

26. Two pediatric cardiologists will co-lead the nation's first long-term clinical trial for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, a rare inflammatory condition potentially linked to COVID-19. 

27. Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha on Jan. 3 performed its first heart transplant using an emerging method, donation after cardiac death, which allows surgeons to revive a donor heart after it has stopped beating. 

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