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Phoebe Heart Team Achieves 100th TAVR Milestone In Treating Patients with Aortic Stenosis


Phoebe Heart & Vascular Program’s team of multidisciplinary cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons recently performed its 100th Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure. This represents a major milestone, and the culmination of many years of training and experience for the Structural Heart Program team at Phoebe. Phoebe is the only hospital within an approximately 100-mile radius of Albany offering the TAVR procedure which may be the only hope for patients with aortic stenosis considered too high risk for traditional open heart surgery.

Aortic stenosis is the most common cardiac valvular abnormality in the United States. This disorder results in restricted opening of the main valve of the heart that separates the left ventricle from the aorta. It is estimated that aortic stenosis affects approximately 5 of every 10,000 adults, with the prevalence increasing with age.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement, a minimally invasive procedure for patients with aortic valve stenosis, allows for the replacement of the diseased aortic valve with a new valve without open heart surgery. The new valve is most often inserted through a small incision in the leg and goes to work immediately. This

game-changing technology has now become an accepted technology for treating even moderate to low-risk patients with aortic stenosis.

To date, 105 patients have successfully undergone TAVR at Phoebe, reaping its benefits. Advancements in Phoebe’s program since inception include alternate access TAVRs, valve-in-valve TAVRs, and the addition of MAC anesthesia where the patient is sedated but still aware and responsive.

“Our heart team works collaboratively to determine the best option for our severe aortic stenosis patients,” said Khaja Mohammed, MD. “TAVR is the most minimally invasive approach to treating this patient population. TAVR patients do incredibly well. Most of them are walking around the same day after the procedure and discharged the next day. It’s a life-changing option for these patients.”

“I told Dr. Mohammed, the minute I woke that I could already tell a difference,” said Robert Etheridge a patient who recently underwent TAVR. “I can now walk significant distances without giving out of breath.”

Another recent patient, Ann Bynum joined members of the TAVR team at the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital board meeting Thursday in recognition of the milestone.  She told board members, “I had the surgery the 30th of September, and I stayed one night in ICU.  I left the next day, and I walked out of the hospital.  I am just so pleased to have had it and to be well and feeling so much better.”

The multidisciplinary team, which includes a program coordinator, cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, anesthesiologists, radiologists, nurses and technicians, among others, works in a coordinated way to assess patients and perform the TAVR. The Heart Valve Team performing TAVR at Phoebe include cardiac interventionists Khaja Mohammed, MD, Mark Cohen, MD; cardiovascular surgeons, Anthony Hoots, MD; Francis Herrbold, MD: and cardiothoracic surgeon, Giovanni Piovesana, MD.

“This milestone demonstrates our heart team’s commitment to ensure citizens of this region have local access to this advanced level of heart care,” said Joe Austin, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital CEO.