Physicians and team members at Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital recently marked completion of 100 Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement procedures, a minimally invasive alternative to open-heart surgery for treating aortic stenosis.
Reaching the 100th TAVR milestone is a significant achievement for St. Mary’s Hospital, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Cardiovascular Services Medical Director Dr. Kapil Lotun. St. Mary’s began offering TAVR procedures in early 2020.
“It’s normal for a hospital to have around 50 TAVR procedures completed in its initial year, and the fact that our team accomplished double that during the pandemic is something to recognize and celebrate,” said Lotun.
Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve that obstructs blood flow to the heart and the rest of the body. The TAVR procedure helps improve heart function, allowing many patients resume previous activity levels.
The TAVR procedure involves inserting a new valve attached to a catheter, which is guided by the physician through the body via arteries (typically through an entry point in the leg). When the diseased aortic valve is reached, the replacement valve is deployed and secured in place.
“We are incredibly proud of our team for achieving this milestone,” Lotun said. “Your health can’t wait, and to treat this number of patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic reflects our commitment to providing safe, appropriate care for members of our community.”
Incidence of aortic valve stenosis increases with age, according to the FDA. As the aortic valve opening narrows, the heart must work harder to pump blood to the body. Occurring in about 3% of Americans over age 75, severe aortic valve stenosis can cause fainting, chest pain, heart failure, irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias), cardiac arrest or death.
The TAVR team at Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital includes specialists in interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery who are experienced in complex cardiac procedures.
Medically necessary procedures like TAVR can be lifesaving and life-altering treatment, said Carondelet Health Network CEO Monica Vargas-Mahar.
“Performing more than 100 TAVRs during the pandemic shows that there is a need for our cardiovascular services, and the community trusts our Carondelet caregivers to provide safe, compassionate, quality care when lives are at stake,” said Vargas-Mahar.