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Multi-Media Project Encourages Patients to Become Smarter Healthcare Consumers

PHOENIX…February 1, 2013…In a month devoted to hearts, Eight, Arizona PBS will help educate viewers on Wednesday, February 20 at 9 p.m. on Eight HD about a non-surgical approach to aortic valve replacement via the second installment of its locally produced series, The Latest Procedure. The hour-long program marks the 30th anniversary of Eight’s landmark live telecast of open heart surgery – the first-ever worldwide.

February has long been designated American Heart Month. In the United States, one in every three deaths stems from heart disease and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Eight’s newest production, The Latest Procedure: Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, focuses on an innovative, non-surgical approach to treating aortic valve stenosis – a narrowing of the aortic valve that hinders the heart from pumping blood to the upper and lower extremities. Currently, some 300,000 patients in the U.S. suffer from this heart condition.

Viewers accompany Arizona’s own Dr. David Rizik into the operating room for an up-close step-by-step tutorial of this catheter-based approach, also known as TAVR. The new valve is carried inside a catheter inserted into the artery in the patient’s thigh or groin through a small incision, then threaded by a wire through the patient’s vascular network to the heart. There, the valve is deployed in the passageway between the heart’s left ventricle, or pumping chamber, and the aorta. Before the new valve is inserted, Dr. Rizik uses a balloon-catheter to crush the diseased valve to the side.

In the past, cardiac operations required saws, scalpels and surgical chest spreaders to allow the surgeon to see directly into the chest cavity. Today, however, cardiologists like Dr. Rizik use 3D imaging technology in order to visualize the heart chambers and blood vessels from the inside.

“During the procedure, the transcatheter heart valve is compressed into the end of a thin tube-like catheter,” Dr. Rizik explained. “The valve is made of bovine or cow tissue and polyester supported with a stainless-steel mesh frame. Once released from the catheter, the heart valve is expanded with a balloon and immediately becomes functional.”

He added that with approximately 2-7 percent of individuals over the age of 65 afflicted with inoperable aortic stenosis, and an aging population, TAVR offers a very promising solution. Dr. Rizik is Medical Director of Scottsdale Healthcare at Shea and Thompson Peak and Director of Interventional Cardiology for Scottsdale Healthcare’s medical centers and hospitals.

Viewers also will see innerspace, 3D medical images from inside the patient’s body needed to perform complex catheterization and surgical procedures. Zooming out, they watch the surgeon’s play-by-play account of the surgery. Those tuning in also will meet the patient, and follow up with her the next day, as well as tour the Hybrid OR/Endovascular Lab and see a demonstration of surgical tools.

The new Eight-produced series brings the PBS member station full circle in its efforts to help Arizonans be smarter healthcare consumers. It was nearly 30 years ago, in 1983, that Eight and the Arizona Heart Institute co-produced the first live broadcast of open heart surgery in the world. Since 1983, Eight also has produced other surgery broadcasts including the following:

· The Implant: Hip Replacement Surgery (1987)

· Implant II: Knee Replacement Surgery (1990)

· The Implant III: Hip Revision Surgery (1996)

In November 2012, Eight co-produced The Latest Procedure: Anterior Total Hip Replacement Surgery with Chris Wooley of VAS Communications/HiDefMD and Wayne Dickmann of Even Keel Productions, Inc. The three partners also collaborated on this latest installment. For more information on The Latest Procedure, visit our website


Media Contact:  Colleen O’Donnell Pierce
(602) 496-0579
(602) 478-3867 (cell)


About Arizona PBS

Arizona PBS is a trusted community resource.  For over 52 years, the PBS station has focused on educating children, reporting in-depth on public affairs, fostering lifelong learning and celebrating arts and culture. Arizona PBS achieves its mission through the power of non-commercial television, the Internet, educational outreach and community-based initiatives. Its signal reaches 80 percent of the homes in Arizona. With more than 1 million viewers weekly, Arizona PBS consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr.

Arizona PBS is a member-supported community service of Arizona State University and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.



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