With new technology being created each day, there are more options in treating patients without having to do open-heart surgery. One of these surgeries is Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR.)
Dr. William Merhi, an interventional cardiologist at Spectrum Health, explains how these new technologies help patients. As an interventional cardiologist, he tries to fix things with a minimally invasive approach, which means they try to avoid open-heart surgery as best they can.
With new technologies developing in the medical field, the TAVR Clinic provides specialized treatment of valvular heart disease. The clinic offers new options for aortic valve replacement to patients who were previously thought too high-risk to undergo the traditional surgery.
The ability to offer this advancement is bringing new hope to this group of aortic stenosis patients. As we continue to develop expertise and complete research trials, we now are able to able to start providing this exciting procedure to patients who aren’t as high-risk, but would still benefit from the advanced technology and excellent outcomes presented by TAVR.
Surgeons and interventional cardiologists work together to perform the procedure during which the diseased aortic valve is replaced with an artificial valve. In most cases, the procedure channels a thin tube with a prosthetic valve through an artery in the groin or shoulder to reach the heart without open-heart surgery or surgical removal of the native valve. Almost immediately after the procedure, patients begin to feel better, thanks to improved blood flow.
What makes this approach unique is that we are able to perform transcatheter aortic valve replacements, rather than the traditional“open” valve replacement surgeries. By performing this operation with a minimally invasive approach, the patients benefit from less surgical trauma, less pain, less scarring, and faster recoveries.
Spectrum Health currently offers two FDA-approved transcatheter valve replacement options, and we continue to participate in clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of additional options. By offering two different types of valves, we can help a larger population of patients. Our experience also allows us to help patients that may have been turned away from other centers.
Typically, we see patients who are either referred from their primary care physicians, cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and self-referral from patients seeking a second opinion.
Any patient who has been diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis is a potential candidate for transcatheter aortic valve replacement.
The TAVR Clinic is located at the Spectrum Health Meijer Heart Center on 100 Michigan Street Northeast. For more information, call (616) 391-9415.