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Dr. Jacob Dal-Bianco is a cardiologist and expert in valvular heart disease with special interest in the mitral valve. His research is focused on how and why mitral valve leaflets change when diseased with the goal to develop therapies to prevent heart valve disease.
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Jacob Dal-Bianco, MD, is a graduate of the University of Vienna Medical School, Austria. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, followed by fellowships in Echocardiography and Cardiovascular Diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. He joined the staff of the Mass General Hospital in 2013 as a faculty member of the Cardiology Division and MGH Heart Valve Program. Dr. Dal-Bianco's work has been recognized by a Career Development Award from the American Society of Echocardiography, by his selection for Young Investigator Award presentations of the American Heart Association and American Society of Echocardiography and by the Stanford Calderwood Prize for postdoctoral fellow research from the Mass General Hospital.Dr. Dal-Bianco's main clinical focus is on the evaluation, management and treatment of patients with heart valve disease, with a special interest and expertise in mitral valve disease. This includes patients with mitral valve prolapse, mitral stenosis (a mitral valve that cannot open enough) and mitral regurgitation (a leaky mitral valve). Mitral regurgitation, also called mitral insufficiency or mitral incompetence, is common. When the mitral valve doesn't seal tightly, blood will flow backward in the heart, instead of forward. Patient symptoms can include shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations and swollen feet or ankles.Dr. Dal-Bianco works closely with members of the MGH cardiac catheterization laboratory and cardiac surgery. He is an expert in advanced cardiac ultrasound techniques to guide the transcatheter, minimally invasive repair or replacement of diseased heart valves through a small incision in the groin or between the ribs (Mitral valve clip / MitraClip; TAVI / TAVR).
Dr. Dal-Bianco's research aims to understand the mechanism of how the mitral valve, a valve that separates the left heart chambers, adapts to myocardial injury following a heart attack. One of the major complications following a heart attack is mitral regurgitation (mitral valve leakage) due to incomplete and impaired leaflet closure. Mitral regurgitation is also called mitral incompetence or insufficiency. When the mitral valve doesn't seal tightly, blood will flow backward in the heart, instead of forward. This leads to lung congestion, enlargement of the heart and contributes to the doubling of mortality. Patients experience heart failure and report of shortness of breath, fatigue and / or swollen feet and ankles.Dr. Dal-Bianco explores the adaptive mechanisms of the mitral valve following a heart attack and his research suggests that mitral valve leaflets actively grow and adapt, but also become scarred (=fibrosed), stiff and thick. This novel observation contradicts the notion of mitral valve leaflets being merely passive tissue flaps. Understanding the mechanisms of mitral valve adaptation could lead to new therapeutic opportunities: The goal is to increase mitral leaflet area and prevent fibrosis to maintain leaflet flexibility and preserve a leaflet good seal (coaptation). Devloping such therapies will reduce the amount of mitral regurgitation and improve heart failure symptoms. A new research direction will now also investigate rheumatic heart valve disease and it's mechanisms.This multidisciplinary research project is in collaboration with Dr. Robert Levine, Dr. Elena Aikawa and Dr. Joyce Bischoff.
View my most recent publications at PubMed
A research team led by investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital has shown, for the first time, that it may be possible to nonsurgically treat or even prevent the damage to a major heart valve that often occurs after a heart attack.
Robert Levine, MD and Jacob Dal-Bianco, MD, of the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center at Massachusetts General Hospital are researching the genetics of heart valve disease with the goal of developing preventative therapies.
Massachusetts General Hospital now offers the MitraClip system for patients with severe mitral regurgitation. This new, minimally invasive mitral valve repair approach is a potential treatment option for patients who are too high risk for open-heart surgery.
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