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Published on April 25, 2006

Abington Memorial Hospital Announces Opening of Porter Institute for Valvular Heart Disease To Diagnose and Treat Heart Valve Conditions

ABINGTON, PA (April 25, 2006) - A groundbreaking institute committed to the diagnosis and treatment of valvular heart disease is now open at Abington Memorial Hospital. Located in Abington Hospital's Pilla Heart Center, The Porter Institute for Valvular Heart Disease will offer patients the ability to be seen, diagnosed, and treated all within a 10,500 square foot, state-of-the art facility distinctive to our area.

V. Paul Addonizio, M.D., chief of cardiac surgery since its inception at Abington Memorial Hospital in 1996, has been named the surgical director of the Porter Institute. The Porter Institute unites the disciplines of cardiology and cardiac surgery and offers "one-stop shopping" to patients who will have the opportunity to be evaluated by a cardiologist, anesthesiologist (as indicated), certified registered nurse practitioner, affiliated health staff and, finally, a cardiac surgeon-all within a relaxing, comfortable and welcoming environment.

According to the American Heart Association some 100,000 people annually are diagnosed with heart valve problems, and the number is steadily rising. This figure does not take into account the numerous patients who go undiagnosed each year, according to Dr. Addonizio. First, and most importantly, the warning signs that most people come to associate with coronary problems (chest pain, pain radiating down the arm and indigestion) are not associated with heart valve problems.

"Valvular heart disease is much more subtle than its coronary counterpart and frequently masquerades as chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping and even a declining interest in life's pleasures. Thus, many otherwise healthy elderly patients suffering from heart valve problems go untreated, as their symptoms are confused with the normal aging process. Frequently, heart valve patients-especially the younger ones-are misdiagnosed." Dr. Addonizio says. Patients suffering from heart valve disease (or heart valve malfunction) range from infancy to senior citizens. It is not exclusively an old person's condition, he added.

All measures that have been drilled into the minds of the public to prevent heart disease, such as diet, exercise, blood pressure and cholesterol awareness, quitting smoking and even a daily baby aspirin will do nothing to lower a person's risk for valvular heart disease or, once diagnosed, help the condition improve. "Whether you were born with a defective heart valve or your heart valve has been damaged by infection, aging or disease, accurate, up-to-date information is the key to making decisions for the next step," Dr. Addonizio says.

Dr. Addonizio is nationally known for his pioneering surgical career. His cardiac surgical specialties include complex mitral and aortic repairs and left ventricular remodeling of the heart. He has performed several "world's first" cardiac procedures including replacing half of a 40-year-old male's diseased mitral valve and his entire aortic valve, utilizing donated human valves, otherwise known as a homografts. He also performed the world's first pediatric auto transplant on a 17-year-old high school senior. At the time of her autotransplant, she was the fourth to survive. Today it is believed that she may be the longest survivor worldwide of a cardiac sarcoma (cancer of the heart).

The Porter Institute of Valvular Heart Disease at Abington Memorial Hospital is named in honor of Pat and George Porter for their generous donation in support of the diagnosis and treatment of heart valve conditions.

Abington Memorial Hospital is an independent, acute care teaching hospital with a medical staff of more than 800 physicians and 5,000 employees. These professionals provide medical care and health services to residents of Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. A regional provider, Abington Memorial Hospital has the only Level II accredited trauma center in Montgomery County and offers highly specialized services in cardiac care, cancer care, maternal child health, and surgery.

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