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Orlando Health Brings Life-Changing Heart Procedure Straight to Premature Patients’ Rooms

Orlando, FL (August 15, 2023) – Orlando Health has introduced an innovative and more efficient way to perform a minimally invasive procedure for babies with a specific congenital heart defect. Traditionally, the procedure to close the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) has been done at the cardiac catheterization lab at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, however the clinical team is now performing the operation directly in patients’ rooms in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

A PDA causes abnormal blood flow between the two main arteries coming out of the heart, putting additional strain on the baby’s heart and lungs. In most newborns, the blood vessel closes on its own shortly after birth, however, many premature babies have a delayed closure and may need intervention. During the procedure, the cardiology team places a catheter inside the patient’s heart to create a pathway to deliver a device that will close the PDA.

“Many of our patients in the NICU who need this procedure have had to wait until they were strong enough to withstand the transfer to the cath lab, which could be weeks or even months,” said Michael McMahan, neonatologist at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. “Now that the cardiac team can come to us, we’re able to provide life-changing care to babies as tiny as 700 grams (1.5 lbs) a lot sooner.”

Stephanie Cambronne Plaisir is the mother of two NICU babies born at Orlando Health – Vicktoryah, who had her PDA closed in the cath lab in 2018 and Gloriyah, who is one of the first babies to have the same procedure at her bedside just last month. She says the most recent experience gave her more peace of mind. “When I saw the doctor walk in, I knew Gloriyah was in good hands, because he’s the same one who did Vicktoryah’s procedure five years ago,” recalled Stephanie.

Developing a new surgical protocol like this is a huge undertaking for both hospitals. “Making this happen requires seamless collaboration between multiple clinical teams at both hospitals,” said Dave Nykanen, MD, a cardiologist and co-director of the Heart Center at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer. “From cardiology to the neonatology and anesthesiology teams, this is a huge feat that ultimately means better outcomes for our tiniest patients.”

To date, Orlando Health has successfully performed four of these PDA procedures in the NICU, and the demand continues to grow. This innovative approach to patient care is paving the way for other future bedside procedures that can help improve the patient experience and outcome.


About Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies

Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies is a 350-bed facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of women and babies. The hospital includes comprehensive fetal diagnostics and labor and delivery services, a regional center for neonatal intensive care, maternal intensive care and women’s services. Annually, more than 13,000 babies are expected to be born at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer, making it the busiest labor and delivery unit in the state of Florida. The hospital is also home to the state’s only in-utero surgery program to repair Spina bifida defects. To learn more, visit

About Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children

Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children is a 156-bed facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of children. Orlando Health Arnold Palmer provides expertise in pediatric specialties such as cardiac care, craniomaxillofacial surgery, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, orthopedics, pulmonology and sports medicine. The Bert Martin’s Champions for Children Emergency Department & Trauma Center at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer is part of the only Level One Trauma Center in the area, and is the first facility in Central Florida to provide emergency care exclusively for pediatric patients. Visit to learn more about all of our specialties

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