Transcatheter aortic valve

Salem Health performs innovative heart valve replacement

Mar 06, 2018

Salem Health successfully performed its first four trans-catheter aortic valve replacement procedures last month.

The TAVR procedure is designed to reduce the effects of aortic stenosis, a calcification that builds up on the leaflets of a heart valve that can cause the valve to stop working correctly. It is less invasive than other options and can reduce hospitalized recovery time by up to seven days.

Aortic stenosis reduces the amount of blood reaching the entire body, causing shortness of breath and a sharp reduction in physical activity. The condition predominantly affects the elderly, most often those over 80 years old. There are a number of aortic stenosis patients who are deemed non-surgical (meaning unable to have surgery) due to health issues such as frailty, lung complications and diabetes.

In the past, patients with aortic stenosis have had to undergo open-heart surgery to replace valves. Opening the chest and the valve replacement itself causes stress to the body. The TAVR procedure allows the patient’s body to focus on healing. Many patients who were unable to undergo open-heart surgery will also now be able to have aortic valve replacement with TAVR.

“I am excited that we are now able to treat patients with the less invasive TAVR right here in Salem,” says Raghu Kamineni MD, FACC, interventional cardiologist at Oregon Heart Center.

Through this program, patients can access the TAVR procedure near home, rather than traveling to Portland or Eugene.

According to Juan Oyarzun, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon, “This is another example of state-of-the-art technology and services brought to this community by Salem Health. Residents have access to services on par with any institution in the country.”

Dr. Kamineni and Dr. Oyarzun collaborated and complete these cases together. During the procedure, the doctors access the heart via the femoral artery and then insert a catheter which contains an expandable valve. Once positioned properly, the valve is deployed occupying the same space as the stenotic valve.

Chris Lebel, RN, coordinates the new collaborative TAVR program to help patients move through the process quickly and seamlessly.

“We want the process to be smooth and easy for patients, with the utmost attention paid to their care,” says Lebel. “My role as coordinator is to communicate and coordinate with the patients and providers in order to give the patient the best outcome possible.”

“This program was developed in response to community need,” says Brandon Schmidgall, director of Salem Health’s cardiology line. “This procedure is becoming a new standard-of-care and is the product of a partnership between the independent cardiologists, Salem Health-employed cardiothoracic surgeons and the anesthesiologists and radiologists practicing here.”

The TAVR procedure collaboration is the latest example of Salem Health’s commitment to health in the community through coordinated care.

Salem Health