Mending Broken Hearts at Community Hospital, Munster

By: Community Healthcare System Last Updated: May 2, 2017

Mending-Broken-Hearts-at-Community-Hospital-MunsterPhoto: Ernestine De La Rosa of Chicago visits with Cardiologist Hussam Suradi, MD, after undergoing a minimally invasive procedure called percutaneous mitral balloon valvuloplasty to reopen her narrowed mitral heart valve. “I was determined to get my heart valve fixed and I knew Dr. Suradi would do it right and without a major operation,” De La Rosa said.

A tiny balloon is giving new hope to aging hearts across Northwest Indiana. Cardiologist Hussam Suradi, MD, FACC, FSCAI, is first in the region to use a minimally invasive procedure, called a balloon valvuloplasty, to reopen narrowed damaged heart valves.

Suradi is Northwest Indiana’s only fellowship-trained structural cardiologist. He is on staff at Community Hospital in Munster and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart.

“We have the best tools to treat heart valve stenosis,” said Suradi. “At the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, we have advanced technology that we can use to help older patients with valve disease. We are using balloon valvuloplasty to help patients with mitral valve stenosis. When we choose the best available technique to treat each individual patient and improve their quality of life, then we have done our job giving our patients the finest care possible,” he said.

The mitral valve is one of four valves in the heart that helps the blood keep flowing in one direction. After the heart becomes damaged or diseased, these valves oftentimes no longer function properly and the heart muscle needs to work harder to pump the blood. This can cause symptoms that include dizziness, chest pain, breathing difficulties, palpitations, swelling of the feet and ankles and rapid weight gain due to fluid retention.

Surgery used to be the only available treatment to fix mitral valve stenosis. The surgical procedure would require the patient to be placed on a heart-lung bypass machine and has significant risks. Many elderly patients with weak hearts are unable to tolerate such a lengthy complex surgery. The alternative, percutaneous mitral balloon valvuloplasty, is the preferred therapy in the right candidate. Balloon valvuloplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure that improves the valve function and allows the blood to flow more freely through the heart.

During a valvuloplasty procedure, a small narrow hollow tube called a catheter with a balloon at the tip, is threaded through a blood vessel in the groin and up into the heart. Once the catheter is in place across the mitral valve, the balloon is inflated to open up the narrowed valve. Then, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed from the heart. The patient usually has an overnight hospital stay.

The Structural Heart & Valve Center team of Community Healthcare System is dedicated to providing patients with access to the most advanced treatments for structural heart and valve diseases. This center is led by Hussam Suradi, MD, FACC, FSCAI, who is Northwest Indiana’s only fellowship-trained Congenital and Structural Interventional Cardiologist. With this expertise, the Structural Heart & Valve Center is among an elite few in Indiana to offer patients MitraClip® for mitral valve repair, WATCHMAN™ for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation, balloon valvuloplasty for both aortic and mitral valve stenosis and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Using a multidisciplinary approach, the team discusses the most effective treatment options and shares best practices to ensure that patients receive the most comprehensive care available.

For more information on the Structural Heart & Valve Center at St. Mary Medical Center and Community Hospital, call 219-703-5301 or visit