UAB Medicine

Alabama's first non-surgical valve replacement for aortic stenosis

Pioneering pediatric VAD procedure saves 9-year-old's life

Birmingham's only totally endoscopic robotic heart bypass surgery

First in Alabama to use the Melody Valve


Innovations in Heart & Vascular Care at UAB

The physicians and researchers at UAB Medicine’s Heart and Vascular Services are at the forefront of care for diseases of the heart and veins.

We’ve highlighted four such innovations in the videos above. In them, you’ll see the stories of UAB patients both young and old who sought new and groundbreaking treatments from the experts at UAB Medicine Heart and Vascular Services.


New Valve Replacement Negates Need for Open Heart Surgery
More than 3,000 Americans are afflicted with aortic stenosis—or hardening of the aortic valve—and more than 1,000 of them are ineligible for traditional open heart surgery to repair it. Patients who are too old or weak to undergo surgery had few options, until the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure, which was recently approved by the FDA. In a TAVR procedure, a new valve is implanted by way of a catheter inserted into the femoral artery, eliminating the need for open heart surgery and resulting in a shorter recovery time. Watch this video »

Heartware Device Gives 9-Year-Old Bridge to Transplant
What was thought to be a simple case of sinusitis quickly turned life-threatening as 9-year-old Greer Underwood’s heart began to fail just days after her diagnosis. Greer needed a heart transplant, but a donor organ was not yet available. With few options to choose from, Dr. James Kirklin proposed using a new ventricular assist device (VAD) called Heartware, to keep Greer alive as they waited for a donor heart. Greer became the first child in the United States to receive the device. A few weeks later, word came that a heart was available, and Greer’s transplant took place on Mother’s Day 2011. Watch this story »

Robotic Bypass Gets NASCAR Fan to Race on Time
Jay Savage, a die-hard NASCAR fan, faced bad news when it came to his plans to attend the spring race at Talladega Superspeedway. In the months leading up to the race, Savage noticed a pain in his chest, but ignored it. It wasn’t until a scan showed a major blockage in his heart that Savage found out he needed bypass surgery. The worst part? He’d have to miss the race. That was until UAB Medicine surgeon Dr. Trey Brunsting suggested robotically-assisted bypass surgery for Savage. The robotic surgery dramatically reduces recovery time, allowing Savage to make the race and cheer on his favorite driver, Kevin Harvick. Watch this story »

Melody Valve Saves Budding Soccer Star
15-year-old Dylan Fields was born with a heart defect that required multiple surgeries in his childhood. Ten years after his last surgery, Fields, a budding soccer star, started feeling tired on the pitch. Tests showed a valve replaced 10 years prior was failing. Thankfully for Dylan, valve replacement surgery has taken great strides in the last decade. The result? Dylan received a new valve, called a Melody Valve, through a minimally-invasive procedure that doesn’t require open heart surgery. In doing so, he was the first patient in Alabama to receive the valve through this new procedure. Watch this story »

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