Heart Valve Clinic

Saint Mary’s Heart Valve Clinic

At Saint Mary’s we are dedicated to our patients and their health. We strive to always look for more efficient ways, to help our patients get state of the art care and heal faster. Our Heart Valve Clinic specializes in Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR).

TAVR: Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

A Less Invasive Treatment for Severe Aortic Stenosis

Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center is now home to a Heart Valve clinic specializing in the treatment of patients with heart valve disease, and specifically we are proud to offer the less invasive option of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) for treatment of Severe Aortic Stenosis. We treat each TAVR procedure using a team approach to provide patients with patient focused care as well as to offer an atmosphere of shared decision making between patients and the team. Our TAVR includes a multidisciplinary group of physicians and care givers such as an interventional cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, registered nurses, and a TAVR program coordinator. Our team plans for a comprehensive evaluation of patients with severe aortic stenosis to determine if a TAVR procedure is an appropriate choice and what treatment plan is recommended. For referrals and more information about the Heart Valve Clinic and TAVR at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, please call 775-770-3803

What is Aortic Stenosis?

The aortic valve is one of the four valves in your heart, and specifically regulates the blood flow into the aorta and the rest of your body. The valve is made of thin leaflets of tissue that can become stiff over time. This makes the opening of the aortic valve narrow and does not allow the valve to fully open and close like it should. As the opening of the aortic valve becomes smaller, your heart must work harder to pump blood through your body and this can affect your overall health. This condition is called aortic stenosis (AS). It is estimated that aortic stenosis affects 2.5 million people in the United States over age 75, and that it affects men more than women. There are four main causes of aortic stenosis including calcium buildup over time, birth defects, rheumatic fever, or chest radiation. The disease is progressive, which means it will continue to get worse over time. Doctors measure aortic stenosis as mild, moderate, or severe depending on how damaged the aortic valve is when the aortic stenosis is discovered.

What are symptoms of Aortic Stenosis?

When aortic stenosis becomes severe, you may notice symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, or chest pain. You can also experience fainting or dizziness. And some patients simply report a decrease in activity level or decrease in the desire to do the things that they once enjoyed because they assume it to be a “normal” part of the aging process. Once patients begin to experience symptoms of aortic stenosis the survival rate is as low as 50% in two years and 20% in five years without aortic valve replacement.

How is the TAVR procedure performed?

An interventional cardiologist, along with a cardiothoracic surgeon perform the TAVR procedure together using a less invasive catheter-based technique. A small incision is made in the leg and through that incision the new heart valve is guided up to the correct position in the heart using x-ray and echocardiography assistance all while the heart is still beating. To learn more about the TAVR procedure please visit newheartvalve.com.

What are the benefits of TAVR?

Using a less invasive treatment for treatment of aortic stenosis means most patients can return to their daily activities sooner than with a traditional open heart surgery. TAVR patients typically experience shorter hospital stays, shorter recovery times, and improved quality of life following the procedure.

Is TAVR right for me?

To see if TAVR is the right option for you please contact Casey Gustafson, BSN, RN, CCRN, TAVR Program Coordinator (775) 770-3803 to start the evaluation process. For more information visit https://newheartvalve.com/

* Please note that a referral from your primary care physician is needed.