hdr aboutus

One Hundred TAVRs and Counting

April 05 , 2017


TAVR physiciansHuntsville Hospital has joined a growing fraternity of U.S. hospitals to have performed 100 transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures.

The hospital’s multidisciplinary Heart Valve Team reached the TAVR century mark on March 2 and has completed several more procedures since then.

While TAVR is considered a minimally-invasive procedure, it’s performed in a Cath Lab hybrid room that can quickly be converted into an operating room if needed. The team includes about 20 cardiac care professionals who are either scrubbed in or on standby.

Along with interventional cardiologists and a cardiothoracic surgeon, the team includes cardiac anesthesiologists, cardiovascular techs, physician assistant, certified nurse anesthetist, radiology technologist, registered nurses, perfusionist, scrub assistant and cardiac sonographer.

The TAVR procedure is intended for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are at medium to high risk for traditional open-heart valve replacement surgery.

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011, TAVR allows physicians to replace a damaged aortic valve without opening the patient’s chest. In most cases, a long, thin catheter mounted with the replacement valve – typically made from the heart sac of a cow – is carefully guided through the femoral artery toward the heart.

Huntsville Hospital performed its first TAVR on Aug. 12, 2014.

A recent University of Colorado Hospital analysis of more than 40,000 TAVR cases concluded that patients generally have better outcomes at hospitals that perform the procedure in higher volumes. Out of approximately 400 U.S. hospitals that offer TAVR, the median volume of cases performed is 80.

With 105 cases under its belt and counting, Huntsville Hospital’s volumes are in the upper half of hospitals with TAVR programs.

In the early days of the program, the procedure took 2-3 hours and most patients spent a full day recovering in ICU before moving to a regular room.

Case No. 100 took just 55 minutes and is an example of how improved proficiency is a benefit to patients.