Heart Valve Center – Now Performing TAVR!

Exceptional cardiac care gets even better! The Saint Francis Heart Valve Center is now performing TAVR.

When it comes to your heart, you deserve the best. With its multidisciplinary team of talented cardiologists, heart surgeons, specialists and dedicated coordinator, the Heart Valve Center at Saint Francis Medical Center, in cooperation with Cleveland Clinic, offers the most advanced treatments for heart valve disease.

Coordinated Care for Better Outcomes

Heart Valve Center coordinator, Jennifer Cotner, MSN, APRN, ACNP/AGACNP-BC, ensures all questions are answered and the right specialists are gathered for a patient’s initial medical evaluation. After each case assessment, a personalized patient care plan is created – with ongoing communication to referring physicians to keep them informed. Additionally, new technologies and procedures and expanded services and coordinated approach to care all lead to better outcomes for patients in the region.

Heart Valve Disease Symptoms

Heart valves control blood flow to different parts of the body. When they become too narrow and hardened to fully open, they pump inefficiently. To make up for poor pumping, the heart enlarges and loses elasticity and efficiency. Valve disease can cause heart damage, other complications or even death. Often, there are no symptoms at all, but watch for these signs:

  • Shortness of breath and wheezing after minimal physical activity
  • Swelling of limbs or abdomen
  • Fever or rapid weight gain
  • Fatigue, dizziness or fainting
  • Heart palpitations or chest pain

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

What is TAVR?

This minimally invasive surgical procedure repairs the valve without removing the old, damaged valve. Instead, it wedges a replacement valve into the aortic valve’s place. The surgery may be called a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

How does TAVR work?

Somewhat similar to a stent placed in an artery, the TAVR approach delivers a fully collapsible replacement valve to the valve site through a catheter. Once the new valve is expanded, it pushes the old valve leaflets out of the way and the tissue in the replacement valve takes over the job of regulating blood flow.

This procedure is fairly new and is FDA approved for people with symptomatic aortic stenosis who are considered a high-risk patient for standard valve replacement surgery. The differences in the two procedures are significant.

A TAVR procedure is not without risks, but it provides beneficial treatment options to people who may not have been candidates for them a few years ago while also providing the added bonus of a faster recovery in most cases. Most patients will likely require a shorter hospital stay (average 3-5 days).

Who is a good candidate for this type of valve surgery?

At this time, the procedure is reserved for those people for whom an open heart procedure is too risky. For that reason, most people who have this procedure are in their 70s or 80s and often have other medical conditions that make them a better candidate for this type of surgery.

TAVR can be an effective option to improve quality of life in patients who otherwise have limited choices for repair of their aortic valve.

The Benefits of TAVR

TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure available for certain heart patients. It can be a much safer alternative to open-heart surgery, with benefits that include:

  • Quicker recovery times
  • Significantly less pain and discomfort
  • A lifesaving option for high-risk patients

To make an appointment with the Heart Valve Center, located within the Heart Hospital – Entrance 7, call the Heart Valve Center at 573-331-3369.