It’s a lifesaving procedure that’s now being offered to more patients in Southwest Florida. It’s called TAVR. It’s what health experts say is allowing patients to return to their normal lives quickly and with fewer complications.
Dr. Brian Hummel, a cardiothoracic surgeon on staff at Lee Memorial Health System, says TAVR, which stands for trans catheter aortic valve replacement, is a minimally invasive heart procedure. “We think that it’s a very good alternative to traditional surgery.”
TAVR is different from open heart surgery because instead of going through the chest cavity to replace a heart valve, surgeons go through the groin. The TAVR procedure keeps the patient from being placed on a heart lung machine. “We pass the valve into position, we deploy it, and get the catheter out of there, and they’re home within a couple of days,” said Dr. Hummel.
Typically, patients who qualify for the procedure have severe aortic stenosis. “The symptoms are shortness of breath, angina, syncope, fainting, or congestive heart failure,” said Dr. Hummel. But recently a new trial was launched allowing patients who are at a lower risk of aortic stenosis to undergo the procedure.
“Right now we’re doing about five a week. It’s becoming more and more common. We predict it will become even more common with our low risk trial as well,” said Dr. Hummel.
With a shorter recovery time, patients are able to return to their normal lives within a few weeks. “They know the difference they feel good,” said Dr. Hummel.
The valves are expected to last longer than ten years. After a patient undergoes a TAVR procedure their progress is monitored annually.
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.