For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — A team of surgeons and cardiologists at Marshfield Clinic that performed the first aortic valve replacement in central Wisconsin without having to do open-heart surgery has completed its 100th procedure of this type.
The milestone is notable not only because of the technology used but more so because of the number of patients who have received a second opportunity at life due to a team of health care providers who early on recognized the potential of such a procedure. Without access to this technology and expertise, these patients would have had no other options for treatment.
“From our first patient to the 100th, it’s been an emotional, satisfying journey to help patients who otherwise couldn’t undergo this type of valve replacement,” said Dr. Juan Mesa, an interventional cardiologist and part of the team. “Not only are the patients getting healthy, but it’s giving family members more time with their loved ones.”
The procedure is known as the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and was first introduced to patients in 2012.
TAVR is a surgical option for patients needing a heart valve replacement who cannot have open-heart surgery. Most often TAVR is used in elderly patients who have severe aortic stenosis — a narrowing of the valve opening — caused by calcium buildup.
“Some patients aren’t candidates for open-heart surgery because they may have already had one or two previous heart surgeries or have medical conditions such as poor kidney and heart function,” said Dr. John Braxton, one of the two cardio-thoracic surgeons, along with Dr. Hope Maki, who is part of the TAVR team. “Having TAVR available as an option for patients has allowed us to help patients who otherwise had no options for treatment.”
The TAVR procedure expands the number of patients who may be treated for aortic valve disease, but it is not for everyone.
“Each patient is seen by a team of heart valve disease specialists to make sure the best treatment option is offered,” said Dr. Milind Shah, an interventional cardiologist who is part of the TAVR team. “Patient safety is at the center of everything we do, which is why we remain rigorous in examining every opportunity to improve patients’ lives.”
For more information on the TAVR procedure, or to make a self-referral for evaluation, call 1-866-623-4728.