TAVR has given 100 patients a new lease on life
Sampoornima Setty, MD, FACC, Gundersen Heart Institute
On May 1, 2014, a team of Gundersen specialists performed the first transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR) at Gundersen. TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat aortic valve stenosis which kills more often than heart attack, stroke or cancer. Most patients live only two to five years after diagnosis. The traditional treatment is to replace the valve using open heart surgery.
"About 50 percent of patients are not eligible or the risk is too high for open-heart surgery. Before TAVR, there were no good options for long-term survival for these patients," says Gundersen cardiologist Sampoornima Setty, MD, FACC. "TAVR offers an effective option to improve quality of life in your patients who otherwise have limited choices."
Gundersen's team of heart specialists has now performed TAVR on 100 people and counting with great results. TAVR has made heart valve replacement easier, more effective and available to a greater number of patients. In fact, TAVR is now approved for use in more patients than ever before.
"Gundersen is currently using a 'third-generation' replacement valve which prevents or minimizes leaking around the valve," Dr. Setty explains. "It also has a smaller profile so more patients are eligible for the TAVR procedure and in most cases we can do the procedure through the femoral artery—the preferred and least invasive route."
"Patients have done extremely well," Dr. Setty explains. "They are living without chest pain and shortness of breath. Because of the success and added benefits of the procedure—including quicker recovery compared to open-heart surgery—we can now use TAVR to treat intermediate-risk patients, too, in addition to patients who are high risk for open heart surgery."
TAVR is just one piece in the care available to your patients with heart valve problems. Gundersen has the region's only Valve Clinic where specialists work together to provide evaluation, second opinion, medical management and, if needed, surgery to repair or replace a faulty heart valve.
If you have a patient who may be a candidate for TAVR, please consider a referral to the Gundersen Valve Clinic by calling MedLink at (800) 336-5465 or 775-5465 in La Crosse.