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Conemaugh Memorial’s Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) program is celebrating its first year with great success. To date, 38 patients have undergone that procedure and the team of physicians are pleased with the results.
“This procedure gives new hope to patients who have been deemed too sick or too high risk for open heart surgery,” says Dr. Savas Mavridis, Medical Director of Cardiovascular Services and Chief Cardiac Surgeon at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. “Severe symptomatic aortic valve stenosis is the most common valvular disease in the elderly and it is associated with very poor outcomes if left untreated.”
Conemaugh Memorial is the only cardiac program between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg to offer this procedure and one of only 400 programs nationwide. The procedure involves a team of physicians and staff including a cardiothoracic surgeon, interventional cardiologist, cardiologist, anesthesiologist, radiologist and members of the Cardiac Catheterization and Operating Room teams who have trained specifically for this procedure.
Diseases of the heart affect more than 2.5 million people in the Unites States, over the age of 75. A heart condition called Aortic Stenosis is the most common valvular heart disease in the elderly population.
“Severe Aortic Stenosis is associated with a very poor outcomes and timely treatment is critical,” says Mandy Percinsky Valve Clinic and TAVR Program Coordinator. “After the onset of symptoms, if left untreated, patients with Severe Aortic Stenosis have a low rate of survival and a very poor quality of life, which is why we are so pleased this program is taking off the way it has.”
The traditional approach for treatment has been open heart surgery to replace or repair the aortic valve. Unfortunately, as many as 20-40% of our patients with Severe Aortic Stenosis have a very high risk for adverse outcomes with traditional open heart surgery and up until recently, they have had limited treatment options.
“Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center has been on the cutting edge of cardiac care since beginning the Catheterization and Open Heart program more than 25-years ago,” says Dr. Susan Williams, Chief Medical Officer of the Conemaugh Health System. “The TAVR program is another milestone in our comprehensive cardiac program and something we are very thankful for.”
To learn more about the TAVR program, log on to www.conemaugh.org, or call Michele Adams, TAVR program coordinator at (814) 534-1548.