BJ Brogan, physician assistant, Carolyn Pendelton and Brody Wehman, cardiac surgeon
Heart and Vascular

New Technology Helps Heart Patients Like Carolyn

May 13 2021

Carolyn Pendleton, a longtime Mechanicsville, VA resident, was aware she had a disease known as asymptomatic aortic stenosis. However, one day in February 2020, she was walking in her yard and collapsed. The stenosis had progressed and gotten much worse. Carolyn arrived at the emergency room at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center on Valentine’s Day and was diagnosed with a severely dilated aortic root, also known as an aneurysm.

It was determined by her health care team, led by Brody Wehman, MD, a cardiac surgeon, that Carolyn would need open-heart surgery. However, the timing of her surgery luckily coincided with FDA approval of a new device that treats exactly what Carolyn was suffering from: KONECT RESILIA aortic valve conduit (AVC).

Dr. Wehman is the first cardiac surgeon in central Virginia to introduce this new cutting-edge technology used on patients in need of complex cardiac surgery. The KONECT device was approved by the FDA in July 2020 and is the first ready-to-implant solution for aortic root aneurysms.

“We are excited that our team at Bon Secours is the first in the central Virginia to use this new product,” shares Dr. Wehman. “Implementing this technology at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center allows us to provide a straight-forward solution for complex valve procedures and provides our patients with the best treatment possible.”

The KONECT device is a meaningful advancement that gives surgeons a preassembled device with two leading technologies. They can then streamline treatment for patients requiring this complex and technical procedure.

Additionally, the KONECT device offers benefits to patients with the advanced RESILIA tissue, which incorporates integrity-preservation technology that may help improve valve durability. The RESILIA tissue technology allows devices to be stored under dry packaging conditions, facilitating ease of use during patient care.

All of this has helped surgeons, like Dr. Wehman, treat patients, like Carolyn, with valve disease and a combination of issues with the aorta.

“Prior to having this device, surgeons would have to manually sew together the prosthetic valve and aortic root replacement during the surgery, often in an emergency setting,” says Dr. Wehman. “With the KONECT device, the aortic valve, aortic root and ascending aorta replacement are already preassembled as one continuous prosthetic heart valve and replacement aorta. This greatly simplifying the procedure and streamlining an otherwise complicated surgery.”

For Carolyn, who underwent a significant heart operation, the use of the device shortened her operative time. According to Dr. Wehman, Carolyn also sailed through her post-operative recovery beautifully. She was discharged and went home the following week without any complications.

“I wanted Carolyn and other patients like her to have the best possible technology available to them,” says Dr. Wehman. “We are thrilled that Bon Secours secured this technology in time for the surgery she needed.”

Learn more about the heart and vascular services we provide at Bon Secours.

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