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An Alternative to Open-Heart Surgery at Beebe Healthcare

Man and friend out for golf after surgery


Minimally Invasive TAVR Procedure Replaces Aortic Valve 

There’s a new alternative open-heart surgery in Sussex County for those suffering from aortic valve stenosis.

Beebe Healthcare has launched the county’s first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program. Patients typically go home the next day after the TAVR procedure.

This highly therapeutic treatment option is for patients with symptomatic aortic stenosis, which is a build-up of calcium deposits on the last door in your heart known as the aortic valve. 

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This causes the opening to narrow and reduce the blood flow to the rest of your body. Over time, if your valve doesn’t fully open, your heart must work harder to push blood through to your body. 

Debilitating symptoms:

•    shortness of breath
•    lightheadedness
•    fatigue
•    and shortened lifespan. 

Common causes to aortic stenosis:

•    Age
•    Calcium buildup
•    Radiation therapy
•    Infection of the heart
•    Failing aortic surgical valve

“Aortic stenosis can interfere with daily activities as basic as walking,” said Dr. Mouhanad Freih, interventional cardiologist affiliated with Beebe and Chief of Cardiology at Beebe. “It is very exciting to offer a minimally invasive procedure that can provide a solution for patients with aortic stenosis. TAVR can lengthen and greatly improve the quality of a patient’s life. Getting a patient back to enjoying life is our ultimate goal.”

During the TAVR procedure, an artificial valve is implanted through a catheter, which is inserted through a large artery in the patient’s leg, eliminating the need for open-heart surgery and use of a heart lung machine.

Previously, TAVR was used only if a patient was considered inoperable or high-risk for a traditional valve replacement or open-heart surgery, but the procedure has received approval for low- to intermediate-risk patients. TAVR also can be used to replace failing tissue aortic valves, eliminating the need for those patients to have a second open-heart surgery. 

“Treatment for aortic stenosis depends on how far your disease has progressed,” said Dr. Qureshi, interventional cardiologist affiliated with Beebe and Chair of Interventional Cardiology at Beebe. “If your stenosis is mild, medications may be prescribed. However, with time and progression, the only effective treatment is to replace your aortic valve.” 

If you have a valve condition, discuss it with your cardiologist as you might be a candidate for the TAVR procedure. For more information about TAVR and an educational video, visit