IU Health Arnett celebrates 100 SAVR/TAVR surgeries
February 15, 2023
Indiana University Health Arnett Cardiovascular Services recently marked the completion of 100 Surgical/Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (SAVR/TAVR) procedures. Both procedures are 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.
“Reaching this milestone is a testament to our highly skilled providers and our commitment to providing the best care close to home,” said Chris Mansfield, MD, IU Health Arnett chief medical officer. “Offering these leading-edge technological procedures is yet another example of our commitment to providing our patients the highest level of quality, safety and service.”
Surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) has historically been the treatment of choice for many patients diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis. During the procedure, an incision is made in the chest to access the heart.
The less invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure is an alternative to open heart surgery, in which the aortic valve is replaced via a catheter inserted through a large artery in the patient’s leg or chest.
IU Health Arnett made headlines in February 2021 when the cardiac team performed the region’s first TAVR procedure. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require that hospitals maintain a minimum of 100 aortic valve replacements (AVRs) every two years.
The experienced cardiac team offering the TAVR procedure includes cardiothoracic surgeon Kyle Yancey, MD, along with interventional cardiologists Nivas Balasubramaniyam, MD, and Ziaul Hoque, MD, FACC, FSCAI.
Who TAVR helps the most
Patients with aortic stenosis benefit most from the TAVR procedure. Aortic stenosis is a build-up of calcium deposits on the last “door” in the 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 the aortic valve doesn’t fully open, the heart must work harder to push blood through to the body.
“Aortic stenosis can interfere with daily activities as basic as walking,” said Hoque. “To offer a minimally invasive procedure that can provide a solution for patients with aortic stenosis is life changing. TAVR can lengthen and greatly improve the quality of a patient’s life.”
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.
TAVR also can be used to replace failing tissue aortic valves, eliminating the need for those patients to have a second open-heart surgery.
How a TAVR is conducted
During the TAVR procedure, an artificial valve is implanted through a catheter inserted through a large artery in the patient’s leg or chest, eliminating the need for open-heart surgery and the use of a heart-lung machine (also known as a bypass machine). The procedure is performed in a catherization lab that allows for maximum collaboration between surgeons and interventional cardiologists.
“Getting a patient back to enjoying life is our ultimate goal,” shares Yancey.
Patients with a valve condition should discuss with their cardiologist whether they are a candidate for the TAVR procedure.
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