Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center–Janesville has successfully performed its 100th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure. This minimally-invasive procedure replaces a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly.
During TAVR, a cardiologist and cardiovascular surgeon insert a replacement valve through a small incision into a catheter and guide it through an artery to the patient’s heart, where a balloon is expanded to press the valve into place.
Aortic stenosis affects more than 2.5 million Americans over the age of 75 annually. Valve replacement can be required if diet and lack of exercise cause heart valves to atrophy or harden. The loss of valve flexibility may cause chest pain, rapid heart rhythms or skips, shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, and other symptoms.
“It has been a massive institutional effort here at Mercyhealth to renovate our surgical suites and introduce a hybrid operating suite to allow us to do this level of procedures. Our team is excited to continue to provide high quality, evidence-based approaches that help patients live more enjoyable lives,” said Dr. John Snider, cardiothoracic surgeon at the Mercyhealth Heart and Vascular Center–Janesville.
Compared with open-heart surgery, patients who undergo TAVR spend less time in the hospital and are able to recover more quickly and get back to their everyday activities.
“TAVR combines aspects of both cardiology and cardiac surgery and the close collaboration allows for excellent outcomes,” said Dr. Gene Gulliver, interventional cardiologist at the Mercyhealth Heart and Vascular Center–Janesville.
Mercyhealth’s 100th TAVR patient, Laverne “Bud” Strand, 97, underwent his TAVR procedure in late June. He said he chose TAVR to help with shortness of breath.
Since his procedure, Bud says he can breathe easier and walk further without running out of breath.
“I thank Dr. Gulliver and Dr. Snider for giving me a part of my life back again,” said Bud.
“Twenty years ago, with his disease, we wouldn’t have been able to offer him a lot because he wouldn’t have done well with an open-heart surgery but with this minimally invasive procedure, we were able to get (Bud) in, replace the valve and let him go home the next day with his wife,” said Dr. Gulliver.