Sentara Heart Hospital Physicians Perform Region's First Aortic Valve Replacement via Catheter
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Sentara Heart Hospital Physicians Perform Region's First Aortic Valve Replacement via Catheter 

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NORFOLK, Va. (December 2011) Cardiologists and Heart Surgeons at Sentara Heart Hospital have begun offering transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) therapy with the Edwards SAPIEN Valve.  This new way to perform heart valve replacement enables the placement of a collapsible aortic heart valve into the body via a catheter that is inserted through the leg, and threaded up to the heart.  Sentara Heart Hospital is the first Heart program in Virginia to offer this non-surgical therapy outside a research study.

TAVR therapy is for people with life threatening valvular disease, but are not surgical candidates, according to Dr. Paul Mahoney, a board certified cardiologist and one of the first physicians to perform this procedure locally.

“Because of its curative nature, the TAVR procedure represents a major advance for inoperable patients,” Mahoney adds.  In other words, patients who would have otherwise had no surgical options now have a way to cure their valve disease.

The TAVR procedure is performed in a Hybrid Cardiac Operating Suite at Sentara Heart Hospital.  This Hybrid OR allows for advanced procedures utilizing cardiac catheterization equipment combined with the amenities of a full service operating room.  Cardiologists and cardiac surgeons make up the multidisciplinary team who perform these procedures.

Mahoney explains that TAVR patients require no open surgery, but rather a leg incision through which a catheter is passed.  Patients do not require the use of a bypass machine and recovery is typically one to three days in the hospital.  Once home, patients are able to get around better than before the procedure.

“This entire program is built upon a strong foundation of teamwork,” says Mahoney.

Dr. Jeff Rich, a cardiac surgeon at Sentara Heart Hospital worked alongside Dr. Mahoney on the first TAVR case.  There have been two patients who have undergone the procedure so far.  The expanded team of physicians trained and participating in the TAVR program include cardiologist Deepak Talreja, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon Joseph Newton, MD, and anesthesiologist Robert Opet, MD in addition to Mahoney and Rich. “The success of this program requires input from both cardiology and surgery to determine candidates and the best course of treatment,” Mahoney adds.

The Edwards SAPIEN valve received FDA approval last month and doctors and surgeons at Sentara Heart Hospital are the first in the region to begin offering this therapy to appropriate patients this week.

Related Links:
Sentara Heart Hospital
Hybrid Cardiac Operating Suite

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