Reaching a significant milestone in comprehensive cardiovascular care for the people of our community, Lexington Medical Center has become the most experienced hospital in the Midlands for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR. The procedure allows doctors to replace the heart’s aortic valve with a catheter instead of open heart surgery.
Lexington Medical Center is celebrating the one-year anniversary of beginning its TAVR program. So far, the hospital has performed more than 60 TAVR procedures, more than any other hospital in the Midlands. TAVR is considered the greatest advance in cardiology since coronary angioplasty.
Currently, TAVR is for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are high-risk candidates for open heart surgery because of their age, history of heart disease, or other health issues.“We feel so lucky to be able to help these people, many of whom are debilitated by heart failure and did not have any good options in the past,” said Dr. Robert Leonardi of Lexington Cardiology at Lexington Medical Center, who works with a team of clinicians on the hospital’s TAVR team.
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.
To replace the diseased aortic valve with TAVR, the new aortic valve is compressed into a catheter. Doctors thread the catheter through the body to the inside of the diseased aortic valve.
Then, they deploy the new valve 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 Center performed the first fully percutaneous TAVR procedure in South Carolina. With this minimally invasive technique, doctors deployed the new aortic valve through just a small puncture in the femoral artery in the leg. The hospital also performed the first TAVR procedure in South Carolina where the patient was awake, and it remains the only South Carolina hospital routinely doing the procedures fully percutaneously, without putting patients to sleep, and without the need for a transesophageal echocardiogram. This “minimalist” approach has been shown to make recovery from valve replacement easier.
Lexington Medical Center hosted a reception on the hospital campus in May with patients who underwent TAVR, clinicians and hospital employees.
To learn more about cardiovascular care at Lexington Medical Center, visit LexMed.com/heart