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NCIRE-The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading private nonprofit institute devoted to Veterans health research in the United States. Our mission is to advance Veterans health through research.

We support the work of some of the nation's foremost physicians and scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the premier biomedical research facility in the VA system. All have faculty appointments at the University of California, San Francisco, which has its own proud traditions of research and patient care. We also partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to support health research on behalf of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Those who have served in uniform have given their best for their country. In return, we believe that they deserve nothing less than the best health care research we can provide.

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Elaine Tseng, MD

Chief of Cardiac Surgery at the SFVAMC,
Associate Professor of Surgery, UCSF


New Treatments for Diseases of the Heart Valve and Aorta

Valvular heart disease and aortic disease affect hundreds of thousands of patients in the United States each year.  These diseases most often require open heart surgery.  However, new technologies are rapidly developing for minimally invasive treatment of structural heart disease, using endovascular stent-grafts or transcatheter valves. Dr. Tseng's laboratory has spearheaded the effort to understand the bioengineering aspects and consequences of these novel therapies. She and her colleagues have developed prototypes including transcatheter aortic valves for aortic stenosis and have studied their impact both computationally and experimentally. Using complex computer modeling, they have investigated the feasibility of transcatheter valves in noncalcified aortic insufficiency and have demonstrated their feasibility and efficacy in treating bioprosthetic valve degeneration.  Using a custom built left heart model, they have been able to study the effects of transcatheter valves within degenerated bioprostheses, known as the valve-in-valve concept.  This system allows in vitrovalidation of their numerical models.  Dr. Tseng’s laboratory is also actively investigating ascending thoracic aortic aneurysms which can result in acute type A dissection—a tear in the aortic wall that carries a high operative mortality.  Her laboratory is developing noninvasive means of determining what patients with aneurysms are at risk of dissection to allow elective surgery that is safer.  They are also developing ascending aortic and aortic root prototypes for the treatment of acute type A dissection - a tear in the aortic wall - which still carries a high operative mortality. Thanks to fluid structure interaction simulations and animal models, such endovascular therapies may substantially reduce operative mortality and radically change the paradigm for clinical treatment of acute type A dissections. 

To see Dr. Tseng on Pub Med, click here