February 2019 • Volume 12, No. 2

From the Editor

February is American Heart Month, sponsored by the American Heart Association and even recognized by U.S. Code. It’s probably the easiest health observance month to remember because the heart symbol is ubiquitous around Valentine’s Day.

In 1963, when the observance was first proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, more than half the deaths in the U.S. were caused by cardiovascular disease. These days, one in every four deaths is due to heart disease, which is an improvement—no doubt partly because of more widespread awareness of the dangers of smoking and sodium intake and the benefits of exercise and healthy eating.

But heart disease is still the leading cause of death for both men and women. Since even small changes in diet and exercise can improve our heart health and lower our risk, let’s take this annual reminder to heart.

For our surgical topic, we bring you Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery. One procedure is known as MICS CABG (Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery/Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting) (pronounced “mix cabbage”) or The McGinn Technique. This is a beating-heart procedure performed through several small incisions instead of traditional open-heart surgery that requires cutting through the sternum. The procedure results in less blood loss, reduced post-op discomfort, lowered risk of infection and faster healing times. It may be used in cases of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD); aortic, mitral or tricuspid valve diseases; or previous unsuccessful stenting.

Another minimally invasive procedure is Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), in which a new valve is delivered via a catheter moved through a blood vessel and expanded on top of the diseased valve, in contrast to the more traditional open-heart Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (SAVR) process. 

Scroll down for news about valve replacement and videos on minimally invasive cardiac procedures. We also bring you a cardiac crossword puzzle to test your familiarity with terms and procedures.

Our Student in the Spotlight is Sue Matich, CPNP Acute & Primary Care, of Glendale, CA.

And of course you will find jobs we’ve collected for you, along with NIFA’s favorite links.




Julie Lancaster, Editor


Polymer valves aim to reduce costs, improve minimally-invasive procedures

NIBIB-funded engineers are designing and testing aortic heart valve replacements made of polymers rather than animal heart tissues. . . . the increase in use of TAVR in younger patients raises a serious issue of the durability of the valves as they are now expected to function for many more years in the patients’ bodies. Photo: Medical Express
Read more . .

Sutureless valves, the David Procedure to repair aneurisms, Sentinel filters and the Miami Method

This just-published article by Julie Landry Laviolette of the Miami Herald covers four minimally invasive techniques being used for a variety of cardiac-related procedures. Photo: Miami Herald
Read more . . .


Minimally Invasive Coronary Artery Bypass Graft. A 12-part video series presented by Dr. Joseph T. McGinn, MD. Photo: Medtronic.com.
Watch video . . . 

Minimally Invasive Mitral Valve Surgery. Minimally invasive heart surgery is an option for some patients with mitral valve disease. Marc Gillinov, MD, Cleveland Clinic cardiothoracic surgeon, demonstrates a minimally invasive mitral valve surgery taking the right thoracotomy approach. Watch video . . .

Cardiac Surgery Crossword Puzzle

Test your knowledge of cardiac surgery procedures with this month’s all-new crossword puzzle.

When you’re ready to check your answers, follow this link to see how well you did. Good luck!


Student Spotlight: Sue Matich

Photo: Sue says: “This is myself and my greatest work – my two daughters, who happen to be two nursing students.”

CPNP Acute & Primary Care

Los Angeles / Glendale, CA

Student Status
Current student in NIFA’s RNFA Program

Current Position
Craniofacial NP, Regional, KP So. Calif.

Where did you get your RN degree?
University of San Francisco – BSN 1988
UCLA – PNP & CNS 2003

How did you come to choose perioperative nursing?
I had many bedside operations in the Level III NICU and fell in love with surgery. Had 13 years in pre-anesthesia setting/radiology as PNP, moved to IR as NP, continued to love surgical setting. Needed more intraop time to quench my interest.

What is the funniest moment you’ve ever seen at the table?
Octogenarian surgeon’s scrub pants fell down while he scrubbed during IR case and circulator who pulled up his pants looked at me in the control room. I was smiling through my mask. She caught me. She waved at me from behind him with one finger.

What is one technique or RNFA trick you learned from NIFA that you will use for life?    
Two-handed tying – bilateral
One-handed tying – bilateral
Skin closure

How do you feel having your RNFA will impact your life/career?
I’m kicking off the next volume of my already 30-year career.

Jobs Front

Click here for the RNFA job postings we’ve collected for you this month.

NIFA – Office Hours

Monday-Thursday, 8:00am – 4:00pm
Friday, 8:00am – 3:00pm

Practice Resources

Here are several of the most-in-demand sites for our students, prospective students and grads:

MD Edge Surgery News: Specialty News and Commentaries, Videos and More
RNFA Scope of Practice by State (PDF)
ACS List of Cases that Require an Assistant at Surgery, 2018 (PDF)
Perioperative Nurse Links (state nursing boards & professional associations)
APRN Nurse Links

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this newsletter are strictly those of their respective authors and do not necessarily represent the views of NIFA. NIFA does not give any express or implied warranty as to the accuracy of statements made by our contributors and does not accept any liability for error or omission. It is the responsibility of all perioperative personnel to work within and adhere to their facility bylaws and individual scope of practice.

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