TRAFFIC Detours and Parking Updates around Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

Make an Appointment

Phoebe Reaches Heart Valve Replacement Milestone

Albany, GA | October 9, 2023 – Phoebe has now improved and extended the lives of 200 people through minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR).  The Structural Heart Program at Phoebe was the first in south Georgia to perform the TAVR procedure and remains the most active and experienced TAVR team in the region.

The 200th TAVR, performed Monday, is a major milestone and is the culmination of many years of training and experience for the Structural Heart Program team at Phoebe.  The multidisciplinary team includes a program coordinator, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, radiologists, nurses and technicians – among others – who work in a coordinated way to assess patients and perform the valve replacement procedures.  The Heart Valve Team performing TAVR at Phoebe includes cardiac interventionalists Mark Cohen, MD and Tharmathai Ramanan, MD; cardiovascular surgeon, Anthony Hoots, MD; and cardiothoracic surgeon, Scott Johnson, MD.

“We have a significant number of people in our region who suffer from aortic stenosis and who may benefit from TAVR.  We are fortunate to have an outstanding team here at Phoebe, and it is certainly rewarding for us to be able to offer this service that provides immediate relief for patients,” Dr. Ramanan said.

Severe aortic stenosis causes narrowing or obstruction of the aortic valve, impairing the valve’s ability to open and close properly.  That forces the heart to work harder to pump blood, weakening the heart muscle and increasing the patient’s risk of heart failure.

“These patients generally are dealing with chest pain, dizziness and shortness of breath, and many of them have great difficulty just walking from one room of their house to another,” Dr. Ramanan said.  “We are able to implant a new valve without performing open-heart surgery, reducing those symptoms and relieving stress on the heart with a lower risk of complications and much quicker recovery times.”

TAVR requires a small incision, usually in the groin.  Phoebe’s experts insert a catheter, guide it to the heart and inflate a balloon on the catheter tip to press the new aortic valve into place.  The procedure has a remarkable success rate, and patients typically go home from the hospital the next day.

“TAVR is just one example of our commitment to providing advanced, specialty treatments right here in southwest Georgia so people don’t have to leave home to get the care they need,” said Deb Angerami, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital CEO.  “Our Heart & Vascular team has been the first in our region to perform more than 100 different cardiac procedures, and we will continue to lead the way in advanced cardiac care.”

Phoebe is the only hospital within about a 90-mile radius offering the TAVR procedure which may be the only hope for patients with aortic stenosis considered too high risk for traditional open-heart surgery.