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LMC to Offer Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

This year, Lexington Medical Heart Center will begin offering transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR. This state-of-the-art cardiovascular technology allows doctors to replace the aortic valve without open heart surgery.

Dr. Robert Leonardi of Lexington Cardiology

Dr. Robert Leonardi of Lexington Cardiology

“TAVR is the single most important advance in interventional cardiology since coronary angioplasty,” said Dr. Robert Leonardi of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice.

He will perform TAVR procedures as part of a highly skilled cardiac care team that includes Dr. Robert Malanuk of Lexington Cardiology and Dr. Jeffrey Travis of Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, as well as nurses, technicians and a cardiovascular anesthesiologist.

Currently, TAVR is for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not candidates for open heart surgery because of their age, history of heart disease, or other health issues.

Patients with severe aortic stenosis have a narrowed aortic valve that does not allow blood to flow efficiently. As the heart works harder to pump enough blood through the smaller opening in the valve, the heart eventually becomes weak. Over time, that can lead to life-threatening heart problems.

TAVR offers a less invasive option than open heart surgery. To replace the diseased aortic valve, the new aortic valve is compressed into a tube-like device called a delivery catheter that’s slightly wider than a pencil. Doctors insert the delivery catheter and the new aortic valve into an artery and thread the catheter through the body to the inside of the diseased aortic valve. Then, doctors deploy the new valve from the delivery catheter inside the diseased aortic valve, which becomes the anchor for the new valve. The new valve is functional immediately and normal blood flow is restored.

Lexington Medical Heart Center will use the Edwards SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve. It’s made of bovine tissue with a stainless steel frame. The TAVR procedure takes less than two hours.

“The main benefit is that patients feel better and live longer,” Dr. Leonardi said.

Studies show that TAVR reduces the mortality rate in patients by 20% in the first year after the procedure.

“Patients often want to know if there’s something we can do to make them feel better,” he added. “TAVR allows that to happen.”

For more information on Lexington Medical Center’s complete cardiac care program, visit

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep: No app for that

sleepingDo you check your Facebook page and play Words with Friends before turning in at night? Maybe your phone moonlights as an alarm, drawing you from your slumber?

Living in a digital society has its perks. We can multitask, check our mail, read the paper and share our kids’ accomplishments at all hours. But when it comes to a good night’s sleep, there is no app for that.

“Sleep is not an option,” said Dr. Francis Dayrit, of Lexington Sleep Solutions. “The brain is like a lone shark, it will get sleep any way it can.”

Most people need eight hours of sleep, a number that fluctuates depending on the person. Quality is just as important as quantity. Today, smart phones and tablets that are set to alert the very moment anything happens constantly interrupt us. If these items are in our bedroom, surely they are disrupting our slumber.

Dr. Francis Dayrit

Dr. Francis Dayrit

“A person at 60 years old would have slept 20 years of their life and if they are not sleeping well then they have had 20 years of bad sleep. This has a major impact on the quality of life,” said Dr. Dayrit.

Some sleep issues are simple and can be remedied by making small changes to everyday habits. The physicians at Lexington Sleep Solutions are able to provide a more comprehensive evaluation for sleep issues that are multi-factorial, such as airway obstruction, breathing problems, drug side effects and interactions. Frequent waking, snoring, daytime or constant sleepiness and even the uncontrollable urge to move your legs may be a signs of an underlying sleep disorder.

While sleepiness and fatigue are the most common issues associated with poor sleep, the more severe side effects include hypertension, heart disease and even stroke. So what can we do to ensure proper rest on a nightly basis? “Humans are creatures of habit, sticking to a routine is critical,” said Dr. Dayrit.

It is more important to wake up at the same time each morning than to head to bed at the same time each night. We should listen to our brains when it says we are tired. When sleepiness is physiological, naps can be helpful. Naps should not be any longer than 15-30 minutes. Also, it helps to stay away from caffeine at least eight hours before bedtime.

As for all those staying plugged into the electronics that go “ping” in the night — keep TVs out of the bedroom, turn tablets off and charge phones in a place that is out of ears’ reach. This can help the quality of your sleep.