Memorial First In Region To Replace Heart Valve With No Surgical Incision

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Me­morial is the only hospital in the Chattanooga region chosen as a site to implant a remarkable new device, a transcatheter aortic valve re­placement, or TAVR, which is inserted into the aortic valve with no surgical incision. TAVR is a procedure for select patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve opening) who are not candidates for traditional open heart surgery or are high-risk operable candidates.

Brian Negus, M.D. cardiologist at The Chattanooga Heart Institute at Memorial, and a member of Memorial’s Heart Valve Pro­gram, performed a heart cath­eterization on 83 year old William Horton and found the aortic valve disease had severely pro­gressed, which was the primary reason that he was expe­riencing shortness of breath when he walked even a short distance.

Dr. Negus, and the other mem­bers of the valve program team, Richard Morrison, M.D., and Clifton Reade, M.D., cardiovascular surgeons, along with Mark Thel, M.D., and William Oellerich, M.D., cardi­ologists at The Chattanooga Heart Institute with Memorial, carefully considered possible treatments for Mr. Horton.

“In all previous TAVR cases, we introduced the valve through an actual incision either in the side, chest or groin,” said Richard Morrison, M.D., cardiovascular surgeon at Memorial. “It is typically a two inch incision.  This time, however, we were able to perform the entire procedure through just a prick in the groin where a catheter was introduced (similar to a heart catheterization, but with a slightly larger catheter). Mr. Horton was up on his feet two hours after the procedure. There is no incision to take care of, just a prick site.”

According to Clifton Reade, M.D., cardiovascular surgeon at Memorial, “The newly approved smaller retroflex valve delivery system for TAVR that often requires no surgical incision was approved by the FDA on Monday, June 16, 2014.  We were able to use this device on Mr. Horton.”

“This newly approved device is for sicker patients. We were able to replace the patients’ aorta valve and send him home potentially within 48 hours, which is remarkable,” said William Oellerich, M.D., cardi­ologist at The Chattanooga Heart Institute with Memorial.

“The staff at Memorial has been beyond exceptional,” said Juanita Horton, wife of William Horton. “I know William is looking forward to getting back to the bowling alley and playing the game he loves.”

Memorial is the only hospital in the Chattanooga area chosen as a site for the use of the TAVR valve.  In October of 2011, when Memo­rial was selected, it was one of only 24 hospitals nationwide chosen to use this newly approved FDA device.

Multiple medical and surgical issues must be considered when evaluating a patient as a possible recipient of the TAVR valve. “It’s pretty amazing to at­tend a case review where there are two surgeons and three cardiologists in a room work­ing together to determine treat­ment options. That is one of the most unique things about the valve program,” said Jennifer Welch, coordinator of Me­morial’s Heart Valve Program.

“With more research and study, TAVR will likely lead from high risk to lower risk groups of patients making the procedure more widely available,” says Dr. Oellerich.

If you have been diagnosed with valve disease, talk with your doctor about Memorial Hospital’s Heart Valve Program or call 495-HEART (4327).



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