Hackensack University Medical Center Ranked as NJ’s Highest-Volume MitraClip Center

In 2023, the Structural and Congenital Heart Program at Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center — ranked #42 in the nation for Cardiology, Heart & Vascular Surgery by U.S. News & World Report — was the busiest MitraClip program in New Jersey, performing 58 mitral valve repair procedures using the device. From 2022 to 2023, the hospital’s MitraClip program experienced 93.3 percent growth, compared to the national average of only 1.4 percent. 

 In addition to being New Jersey’s highest-volume program, the Hackensack University Medical Center Structural Heart team is among the highest-volume MitraClip groups in the nation, with success rates and outcomes that exceed national averages. Ryan K. Kaple, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, director of the Hackensack University Medical Center Structural and Congenital Heart Program, is one of the most experienced MitraClip operators in the country. 

 “MitraClip is a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure that allows interventional cardiologists to repair leaky mitral valves. As we perform this procedure by going through the blood vessels, patients typically return home the day after the procedure and have an easy recovery,” said Dr. Kaple. “The procedure has been shown to reduce symptoms of congestive heart failure (CHF) and improve quality of life in people with mitral valve regurgitation, as well as reduce the risk of death and hospital readmission. I am also pleased that a similar device (TriClip) was recently approved by the FDA to treat the tricuspid valve, which is going to be a critically important procedure for many of our patients. I was part of the research trial that led to this approval, and we anticipate being able to offer the TriClip procedure to our patients very soon.

 Joseph P. Donohue, 83, of Wanaque, New Jersey, has experienced the benefits of MitraClip and the team’s expertise firsthand. After having a quadruple bypass procedure at Hackensack University Medical Center in 1999 and subsequent diagnoses of atrial fibrillation, CHF and mitral regurgitation, Donohue has been under the care of interventional cardiologist Sanjeev Patel, MD, and electrophysiologist Dmitry Nemirovsky, MD. 

 “I was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of CHF. I wasn’t a candidate for open heart surgery to treat my mitral regurgitation due to my other heart conditions, so my team agreed that MitraClip would be a good option for me,” said Donohue. “After Dr. Kaple put in the [MitraClip] in June of 2023, I spent two days in the hospital before going home.”

 A few weeks after Donohue was discharged, he was feeling well enough to start cardiac rehabilitation. 

 “I wanted to get back to being active as soon as possible, so I can stay healthy,” said Donohue. 

 Today, Donohue is back to exercise, walking, taking the stairs, shooting basketball with his grandkids and coaching middle school basketball in Mountain Lakes. 

 “Basketball is a team sport, and so is medicine,” said Donohue. “Just as a basketball player can’t win a game all by himself, the cardiologists at Hackensack [University Medical Center] work as a team to care for their patients — and Dr. Kaple, Dr. Patel, Dr. Nemirovsky and the nurses at Hackensack are just terrific.”

 Dr. Kaple said he couldn’t agree more. 

 “Though it’s hard to name all the members of our team who have been instrumental in our program’s success, everyone — from clinical and administrative leaders to our colleagues to our nurses and support staff — has worked tirelessly this year to support our patients, expand our capabilities and grow our program,” said Dr. Kaple. “As a result, we’ve been able to create a positive patient experience and deliver outstanding outcomes, even for challenging and complex cases — a remarkable accomplishment that speaks to the efforts of our entire MitraClip team.”