Medical Milestone: Clinicians perform 2,021st Life-Saving heart valve Procedure

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Doctors and caregivers at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray are celebrating a life-saving medical milestone: Intermountain clinicians have performed the 2,021st procedure of a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to replace aortic valves, one of the major heart valves in the heart, without open-heart surgery.

The 2,021st TAVR patient, Lorraine Jensen of Salt Lake City, was recently recognized as Intermountain caregivers marked this important medical milestone for heart care in Utah.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive heart procedure that uses a catheter to replace narrowed aortic valves that fail to open properly. This occurs when the heart’s aortic valve thickens and calcifies, preventing the valve from opening fully, which limits blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. 

This condition, known as aortic stenosis, can cause chest pain, fainting, fatigue, leg swelling, and shortness of breath. It may also lead to heart failure and sudden cardiac death in some patients, according to Edward Miner, MD, an interventional cardiologist with the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute.

Intermountain clinicians have been performing TAVR procedures since 2009 when they participated in a ground-breaking study to evaluate the method, which proved to be beneficial for heart patients, who are not eligible to undergo major surgery.

TAVR is a minimally invasive way to replace a diseased heart valve without having a patient undergo major open-heart surgery. During TAVR, a replacement valve is inserted through a small cut in the upper thigh. Doctors use a catheter to navigate the valve to the heart. Then, they expand the valve into place and the new valve immediately begins to function.

Other Intermountain hospitals performing the TAVR procedure, includes Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George and McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.

The TAVR procedure involves an interventional cardiologist, a cardiothoracic surgeon, a cardiac anesthesiologist, and a team working together to perform the procedure.

Patients who have the procedure are typically in the hospital for two days and are back to normal life activities within 10 days. This represents a significant improvement from the three- to five-day hospital stay and six-week recovery for people who have open-heart surgery.  

For more information, you can visit the Intermountain Healthcare website.

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