With Only 21 Facilities Achieving this Award Nationally, AGH Ranks Among the Most Elite Mitral Valve Programs in the Country
PITTSBURGH– Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), the flagship academic medical center of Allegheny Health Network (AHN), announced today it has received the Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Mitral Foundation for a demonstrated record of superior clinical outcomes resulting from evidence-based, guideline-directed degenerative mitral valve repair. The announcement marks a significant milestone for the AHN Cardiovascular Institute as it places the Network’s mitral valve repair program among the most elite nationwide; to date, only 21 facilities have earned this award across the country and AGH is the first hospital to receive this recognition in the state.
“This recognition is a true honor because it stems from the hard work of the dedicated AHN clinicians and caregivers who promote the highest level of care delivery, clinical excellence, innovation and compassionate care,” said Walter E. McGregor, MD, lead surgeon of the AHN mitral valve program and director of AHN cardiac surgery at AHN Cardiovascular Institute. “Today’s announcement underscores our Institute’s long-standing legacy of deciphering the complexities of heart valve disease and pioneering the most advanced therapies and treatment approaches to promote positive, long-term health outcomes for our patients.”
The mitral valve is located in the left side of the heart and works to keep blood flowing properly in one direction from the left atrium to the left ventricle. When the valve doesn’t work correctly, allowing blood to flow backward, it results in the heart not pumping enough oxygenated blood for the body. Symptoms, including fatigue and shortness of breath, are often present and persistent. According to the American College of Cardiology, an estimated four million people have significant mitral valve insufficiency.
The recommended treatment for degenerative mitral valve disease is mitral valve reconstruction, as opposed to valve replacement with a bioprosthetic or mechanical valve since valve repair is associated with improved survival and fewer long-term complications. Many patients who would benefit from repair receive replacement valves with higher rates of death or complications within five years after surgery.
“We are pleased to recognize Allegheny General Hospital for their commitment to patients who need mitral valve repair,” said Robert O. Bonow, MD, professor of cardiology at Northwestern University and past president of the American Heart Association. “Choosing the right hospital for heart surgery is one of the most important healthcare decisions that patients and their referring physicians must make to ensure best outcomes. The Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center award identifies hospitals with excellent processes and outcomes and gives patients and cardiologists the information necessary to make these important decisions when mitral valve surgery is required.”
The Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award was developed to identify, recognize and promote the nation’s recognized medical centers for mitral valve repair surgery. AGH earned the award for demonstrating adherence to evidence-based treatment guidelines as well as an ongoing commitment to reporting and measuring quality and outcome metrics specific to mitral valve repairs.
“This designation hinges largely on the number of cases that take place at a medical center and is based on a successful repair rate greater than 95% with less than 1% mortality over subsequent years,” said Stephen Bailey, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon and Chair of AHN Cardiovascular Institute. “We’re incredibly proud of today’s recognition as it only further establishes our program as a nationally-recognized leader of managing and treating complex cardiovascular disease.”
Throughout 2021, the AHN Cardiovascular Institute has earned numerous awards and accolades from industry organizations. Just last month, AGH joined AHN West Penn as designated AHA Certified Comprehensive Hypertension Centers – the only two in western Pennsylvania. In July, AHN announced its Jefferson and West Penn hospitals were also named among the nation’s top performing hospitals for treatment of heart attack patients from the American College of Cardiology.
Earlier this year, AGH received a top 3-star rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for its cardiac surgery program, placing it among the top 5% of programs nationwide and in January, AGH also became the first medical center in Pennsylvania to earn the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Comprehensive Cardiac Center Certification.
For more information on the AHN mitral valve program, please call 412-359-8180 or visit ahn.org; for more on the American Heart Association and Mitral Foundation Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award, go to heart.org.