Heritage Valley Health System Offers Innovative Cardiac Procedure at Beaver Hospital

Expert interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons at Heritage Valley Beaver have joined together to offer an innovative, minimally invasive procedure for patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis. Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a less invasive alternative to open heart surgery and is a viable option for patients who cannot have surgery or for whom surgery is too risky. Heritage Valley Beaver is one of only five hospitals in Southwestern Pennsylvania to offer the revolutionary procedure.  

Aortic stenosis is one of the most common valve disease problems in the United States, affecting approximately 2.5 million people who are 75 years or older.  

“Aortic stenosis is a condition in which the heart’s aortic valve narrows and makes it harder for the heart to pump blood,” explained Dr. Christopher Morgan, interventional cardiologist, Heritage Valley Heart & Vascular Center. “Traditional treatment for this disease is open heart surgery, which is not always an option for elderly or other high-risk patients. Without an aortic valve replacement, patients with severe aortic stenosis have a survival rate as low as 50% at two years and 20% at five years.”  

The new valve before it is compressed and placed into the catheter.  An on-screen image of the balloon inflation, which expands the new heart valve into place.

TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure in which a catheter is used to implant a new valve within the damaged valve. A small incision is made in the patient’s leg and a catheter is inserted, giving access to the patient’s heart through the femoral artery.  The new heart valve is compressed onto a balloon, placed in the delivery system, and then guided to the patient’s aortic valve. Once it reaches the damaged valve, the balloon is inflated and expands the new valve into place. The leaflets of the damaged valve will hold the new valve in place and it will begin working immediately.  

Because the procedure is less invasive than traditional heart surgery, there are considerable potential benefits for patients who qualify for TAVR: faster recovery time, quicker relief of symptoms, a shorter hospital stay, lower risk of infection, and less trauma to the muscle tissue.  

“TAVR allows us to help patients who previously had no surgical options,” said Dr. Jasvinder Sandhu, interventional cardiologist, Heritage Valley Heart & Vascular Center. “It is truly a life-saving procedure for high-risk patients. Our team is proud to be one of the few hospitals in the area to offer this option.”  

Dr. Morgan and Dr. Sandhu along with cardiothoracic surgeons Dr. Al Bernabei and Dr. Dinesh Bhaskaran lead Heritage Valley’s TAVR Heart Team which uses a cohesive, multi-disciplinary approach to decide if a patient is a good candidate for the TAVR procedure.  This includes a variety of tests and input from the patient’s referring physician, interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, and valve clinic coordinators. The ultimate treatment choice is a collaborative decision between the TAVR Heart Team, patient, and patient’s family.  

Heritage Valley is proud to bring this innovative valve technology to our community. To learn more about TAVR, visit www.heritagevalley.org/pages/tavr or contact Carrie Farrow, TAVR Coordinator, at 724.773.8224.  

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About Heritage Valley Health System Heritage Valley Health System is a $480 million integrated delivery network providing comprehensive health care for residents of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties, in Pennsylvania; eastern Ohio; and the panhandle of West Virginia. In partnership with 3,500 employees and more than 480 physicians, Heritage Valley offers a broad range of medical, surgical and diagnostic services at its two hospitals, Heritage Valley Sewickley and Heritage Valley Beaver; in 60 physician offices; and 18 community satellite facilities.  For more information about Heritage Valley Health System, please visit www.heritagevalley.org.