Allegheny General Hospital Performs Milestone Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery

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Physicians at Allegheny Health Network's Allegheny General Hospital recently performed the 150th Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) surgery at the hospital, the most recent accomplishment in a series of advances that have made heart valve repair and replacement easier, more effective and available to a greater number of patients.

Allegheny General Hospital

These procedures truly are life-saving options for patients at high risk for traditional aortic valve replacement surgery.

Physicians at the Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) Cardiovascular Institute recently performed the 150th Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) surgery at the hospital, the most recent accomplishment in a series of advances that have made heart valve repair and replacement easier, more effective and available to a greater number of patients.

AGH, part of Allegheny Health Network, was among the first medical centers in the nation to offer two varieties of the minimally-invasive valve replacement technique for individuals with severe narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart, following their approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Aortic stenosis forces the heart to work harder to push blood through the damaged aortic valve and eventually the heart’s muscles weaken, resulting in heart failure and death.

In transfemoral TAVR, the femoral artery serves as a conduit to access the heart. Surgeons make a small incision in the groin and use a catheter to guide the replacement valve through the femoral artery to the heart. With transapical or transaortic TAVR, a catheter is inserted through a small chest incision that provides direct access into the heart, providing a new option for patients with smaller or diseased peripheral blood vessels who may not be candidates for the transfemoral approach.

“These procedures truly are life-saving options for patients at high risk for traditional aortic valve replacement surgery,” said Stephen Bailey, MD, Director of Cardiac Surgery at AGH.

Allegheny General’s team of interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac imaging specialists and cardiac anesthesiologists carefully evaluate all patients with aortic stenosis to determine which medical and surgical options, including the transfemoral and transapical TAVR procedures, are likely to yield optimal outcomes.

“We have a constant drive for cutting-edge, innovative therapies such as TAVR and are proud to have been able to offer improved surgical options and outcomes to 150 patients with many more to come,” said David Lasorda, DO, Director of AGH’s Division of Interventional Cardiology.

TAVR, which is also offered at Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie, is just one of numerous leading-edge procedures that Allegheny Health Network has introduced in the past year to provide the highest quality of care for patients with diseased or damaged heart valves.

In early 2014, AGH joined a select group of medical centers in the country performing robotically-assisted mitral valve repair surgery. The robotic approach accesses the valve through just a few small incisions on the side of the chest, near the patient’s arm, reducing trauma to tissue and muscles.

More recently, the hospital began offering MitraClip, a catheter-based approach which enables interventional cardiologists to use fluoroscopic guidance to insert a clip through the femoral vein in the groin to the affected area along the mitral valve within the heart. Once there, the cardiologist delivers the clip, which attaches the two mitral valve leaflets together in the center, creating a double-barreled orifice that helps stop blood from leaking backward through the mitral valve from the left ventricle into the left atrium.

Allegheny Health Network opened a $7 million state-of-the-art hybrid operating room (OR) at Allegheny General to better equip surgical teams to perform the latest generation of complex, minimally-invasive cardiovascular procedures such as TAVR. The new hybrid operating suite is equipped with a robotic imaging system that gives physicians real-time 3D images of internal organs and blood vessels with unprecedented precision and clarity.

“Introducing new tools that facilitate less invasive procedures that can potentially be offered to sicker patients has been a key part of our tradition and is a critical strategy for advancing cardiovascular care in our region going forward,” said Srinivas Murali, MD, System Director of AGH’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Medical Director of the Network’s Cardiovascular Institute.

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Jennifer Davis
Allegheny Health Network
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