Press Release

IU Health Arnett Cardiovascular Services now offers transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program

February 11, 2021

Indiana University Health Arnett Cardiovascular Services now offers Tippecanoe County’s first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program. The minimally invasive TAVR procedure is used to treat patients with aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve that can lead to debilitating symptoms, such as shortness of breath, lightheadedness and fatigue or shortened lifespan. TAVR may be an alternative to open heart surgery.

“We celebrate this significant milestone in our persistent pursuit of excellence,” said James Bien, MD, FAAP, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of IU Health Arnett Hospital. “By offering this leading-edge technological procedure, it is yet another example of our commitment to providing our patients the highest level of quality, safety and service.”

For this procedure, IU Health Arnett’s Cardiovascular team is led by Kyle Yancey, MD and Thomas Kalmbach, MD, FACS along with interventional cardiologists M. Ziaul Hoque, MD, FACC, FSCAI and Nivas Balasubramaniyam (Bala), MD and anesthesiologists Raymond Cooper, MD and Sunitha Govindaswamy, MD.

Patients with aortic stenosis benefit most from the TAVR procedure. Aortic stenosis is a build-up of calcium deposits on the last door in your heart known as the aortic valve. This causes the opening to narrow and reduce the blood flow to the rest of your body. Over time, if your valve doesn’t fully open, your heart must work harder to push blood through to your body.

“Aortic stenosis can interfere with daily activities as basic as walking,” said Hoque. “It is very exciting to offer a minimally invasive procedure that can provide a solution for patients with aortic stenosis. TAVR can lengthen and greatly improve the quality of a patient’s life. Getting a patient back to enjoying life is our ultimate goal.”

Treatment for aortic stenosis depends on how far the disease has progressed. For mild stenosis medications may be prescribed. However, with time and progression, the only effective treatment may be to replace the aortic valve.

During the TAVR procedure, an artificial valve is implanted through a catheter, which is inserted through a large artery in the patient’s leg or chest, eliminating the need for open-heart surgery and use of a heart lung machine. The procedure is performed in a catheterization lab that allows for maximum collaboration between surgeons and interventional cardiologists.

TAVR also can be used to replace failing tissue aortic valves, eliminating the need for those patients to have a second open-heart surgery.

“We are excited that IU Health Arnett now offers two options to intervene upon a diseased aortic valve,” said Yancey. “The traditional open-heart surgery to replace the aortic valve (SVAR) and now, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive procedure.”

If you have a valve condition, discuss it with your cardiologist as you might be a candidate for the TAVR procedure.

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