Giving new hope to adult patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis
Bayfront Health Port Charlotte was the first hospital in Charlotte County to perform a Trans-Catheter Aortic Valve Repelacement (TAVR) procedure in the summer of 2019. Since then, more than 130 patients have benefitted from this minimally-invasive, life-saving innovation for patients with critical aortic stenosis. James (Jim) Keppel, 75-year-old Punta Gorda resident, was one of these patients, having had the TAVR procedure at Bayfront Health Port Charlotte in June of last year.
Aortic stenosis is a type of valve disease caused by calcium deposits that eventually narrow and stiffen the valve. As it becomes more difficult to pump blood throughout the body, the heart weakens – potentially causing congestive heart failure and increased risk for sudden cardiac death. Aortic stenosis is one of the most common and serious valve disease problems with more than 20% of older Americans having aortic stenosis. Patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis have a 97% death rate at 3 to 5 years if left untreated.
The TAVR procedure gives new hope to adult patients who suffer from severe aortic valve stenosis. TAVR has become the standard of care and has been approved for all patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis.
“Before the TAVR procedure, I couldn’t walk more than 50-100 yards without huffing and puffing and having to sit down,” said Keppel.
According to Farhan Majeed, M.D., independent interventional cardiologist and director of the Structural Heart Disease Program at Bayfront Health Port Charlotte, TAVR enables the placement of a stent-based tissue aortic heart valve via a catheter inserted through the groin and threaded through the arteries of the heart. “TAVR combines minimally invasive techniques with advanced catheter technologies,” he says.
Adds Luis Dibos, M.D., cardiac surgeon with Bayfront Health Medical Group and chief of Cardiac Surgery at Bayfront Health Port Charlotte, “TAVR is a non-surgical option that is done while the heart remains pumping, eliminating the need for the heart-lung machine. This technique is an excellent tool to treat aortic stenosis, especially in the aging population.”
Nicolai Mejevoi, M.D., independent interventional cardiologist agrees with his colleagues. “TAVR is an effective option to improve quality of life for our patients. These are individuals who would otherwise have limited choices for repair, and they often spend much less time in the hospital when compared to traditional surgical valve replacement.”
The Bayfront Health Port Charlotte Structural Heart team includes Drs. Dibos, Majeed and Mejevoi, as well as a structural heart and valve coordinator, cardiac anesthesiologists, perfusionists, cardiac catheterization nurses, radiologists and registered cardiac technicians. TAVR procedures are performed in a “hybrid operating room,” a surgical suite that features a comprehensive cardiovascular X-ray. Currently, Bayfront Health Port Charlotte is the only hospital in the immediate area with an operating room of this kind.
“I just saw my doc a few days ago who said I was doing much better,” said Keppel. “I do feel better and can walk longer distances than before.”
To learn more about the TAVR procedure, or to see if you may be a candidate, contact Bayfront’s Structural Heart Nurse Coordinator at (941) 213-8299.
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