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A Valentine's Day milestone for our heart program

February 22 , 2018

On Feb. 14, Huntsville Hospital Heart Center's Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) team completed its 200th procedure.

Appropriately, the milestone happened on Valentine’s Day and in the middle of Heart Month.

The hospital’s TAVR program has grown quickly since the first procedure on Aug. 12, 2014.

TAVR allows physicians to replace a damaged aortic valve without opening the patient's chest. In most cases, the physician makes a small incision in the upper leg to access the femoral artery. A long, thin catheter mounted with the replacement valve – typically made from the heart sac of a cow – is then carefully guided through the artery toward the heart.

It intended for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are medium or high risk for traditional open-heart valve replacement surgery. TAVR is a minimally-invasive procedure performed in a Cath Lab hybrid room that can quickly be converted into an operating room if needed.

The Heart Center's TAVR team includes: cardiologists Alex Vasquez, Joshua Krasnow, Michael Butler, Sean Groark, Michael Ridner and Mihir Kanitkar from the Heart Center; cardiothoracic surgeons Ben Washburn, Shaf Holden and Aaron Hoffman from Huntsville Cardiothoracic Surgeons; and vale program coordinator Katherine Meier, RN.