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Published on May 25, 2017

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TAVR has given 100 patients a new lease on life

On May 1, 2014, a team of Gundersen specialists performed the first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) at Gundersen. TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat aortic valve stenosis, a narrowing of the valve in the main heart artery.

Gundersen's team of heart specialists have 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 FDA approved for use in more patients than ever before.

Gundersen is currently using a 'third-generation' replacement. It 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 in the groin—the preferred and least invasive route.

Because of the success and added benefits of the procedure—including quicker recovery compared to traditional open-heart surgery—TAVR now can be used to treat intermediate-risk patients, too, in addition to patients at high risk for open heart surgery."

One person who has benefitted from new criteria is 55-year-old Al Paggi. While in his 20s, Al had cancer. Radiation treatments saved his life but with residual effects. By 2016, a damaged heart valve was becoming life threatening.

"Mr. Paggi's case required complex decision making across several departments," explains heart surgeon Sajjad Rizvi, MD. "Traditional open-heart surgery to replace the damaged valve was risky because of scarring from radiation treatments."

TAVR is just one piece in the care available to heart valve patients. 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.

To learn if you may be a candidate for TAVR at Gundersen, talk with your cardiologist or contact us about a second opinion. You can also call for an appointment at (608) 775-2335.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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