Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital Offers New Minimally Invasive Procedure to Treat Severe Aortic Stenosis

January 29, 2018 Providence News Team

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital First in Sonoma County to Offer New Self-Expanding Heart Valve

Yesterday, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital conducted the first Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedures in Sonoma County. TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure which is an alternative treatment for patients who are at intermediate, high or extreme risk for open heart surgery; which is approximately 70% of patients with severe aortic stenosis.

Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening which is one of the most common and serious valve issues. Aortic stenosis restricts the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta. According to the American Heart Association, approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from aortic stenosis and about 500,000 suffer from severe aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis most commonly develops during aging as calcium or scarring damages the valve resulting in the restriction of blood flowing through the valve.

Age-related aortic stenosis typically begins after age 60, but often does not show symptoms until ages 70 or 80. The mortality rate for individuals with aortic stenosis is approximately 50% if left untreated for only two years.1 Many people living with aortic stenosis do not experience noticeable symptoms until the amount of restricted blood flow significantly reduces. Symptoms of aortic stenosis include breathlessness, chest pain (angina), chest pressure or tightness, fainting, palpitations or a feeling of heavy heartbeats, decline in activity level or reduced ability to do normal activities requiring mild exertion, and heart murmur. If you or a loved one is suffering from any of these symptoms, it is encouraged to speak to your healthcare provider.

TAVR procedures implant the CoreValve™ Evolut™ PRO valve via the patient’s femoral artery, accessed through the thigh. Clinical data shows high survival, low rates of stroke, minimal paravalvular leak (PVL) and excellent hemodynamics for the self-expanding valve.

“Treatment options for patients with aortic stenosis vary,” stated Patrick Coleman, MD, Interventional Medical Director of the TAVR program. “This is a historic health care moment. We are thrilled to be the first hospital in Sonoma County to offer a less invasive option to patients with severe aortic stenosis who may otherwise not receive adequate treatment due to their high risk for open heart surgery.”

Prior to launching a TAVR program, hospitals must meet strict requirements set by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). These requirements include performing a minimum of 50 aortic valve replacements in the previous year (including at least 10 high risk patients), having at least two cardiac surgeons on staff, as well as other specialists such as heart failure, cardiac anesthesiologist, intensivists, and ICU cardiac nursing.

“For the past year, Santa Rosa Memorial leadership and clinicians have been collaboratively working towards the goal of performing our first TAVR procedure,” said Ramzi Deeik, MD, Surgical Medical Director of the TAVR program. “Today signifies a huge step forward for cardiovascular care in the North Bay. Now, we’re able to treat more patients with advanced, yet necessary treatment options.”

Ernest Fabian of Eureka, 68, was the first patient to undergo this procedure at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. “I feel a lot better,” he described his instant relief, “my circulation and breathing is much easier.” Mr. Fabian’s medical team from St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County worked cohesively with his cardiology team from St. Joseph Health, Sonoma County. “They were behind me all the way,” he stated.

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