Baptist Health Paducah hits milestone of performing its 100th TAVR Procedure

Baptist Health Paducah. January 19, 2023

Before TAVR, the standard method to replace diseased valves was through surgery that involved a chest incision

(Paducah, KY) – January 19, 2023 - Baptist Health Paducah marked the performance Tuesday of its 100th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive procedure that has vastly improved the quality of life of those suffering from severe aortic valve stenosis.

Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve caused by calcium deposits, which impedes blood flow. Patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis have symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fainting, heart failure and chest pain.

Before TAVR, the standard method to replace diseased valves was through surgery that involved a chest incision and required cardiopulmonary bypass. Unfortunately, patients who were too old or those who had other serious medical issues were deemed unable to withstand the surgery.

TAVR revolutionized aortic valve replacement because it is minimally invasive, has few complications, and patients recover quickly. During the TAVR procedure, a cardiologist and a cardiothoracic surgeon work together by making a small puncture in the groin to access the femoral artery and insert a long tube called a catheter that contains the new aortic valve. The physicians use an imaging process to guide the catheter into just the right position and implant the new valve within the damaged one.

“Since we brought this procedure (TAVR) to western KY in 2019, I can honestly say we’ve provided the best, most thoughtful, patient-specific approach to aortic valvular disease,” said interventional cardiologist Martin Rains, MD. “Sometimes that ends up being a TAVR, and sometimes it’s traditional open-heart surgery with surgical aortic valve replacement. We collaborate and do what’s best for each patient. If your doctor tells you that you have a heart valve problem, ask them to send you to Baptist Health Paducah for the best patient-centered approach for your care. Our approach and outcomes rival those of any “big city” medical center out there.”

The federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA) first approved TAVR only for patients deemed inoperable – ones who more than likely would not survive traditional, open-heart valve replacement surgery. Results have been so favorable that the FDA has now approved TAVR for all patients, regardless of surgical risk, that have symptoms from a severely narrowed aortic. Valve.

“I am so blessed to be part of this team and can’t say enough about each member that has made this milestone possible. From our coordinator Kristin Kirby, the administrators that have supported the program, the echocardiographers who do the studies, radiology technicians that do the CT scans, and OR and cath lab staff members that make the procedures possible, it’s truly a team effort,” said Rains.

Patients who undergo TAVR have an average hospital stay of one to two nights, and are discharged home with very few restrictions.

As more physicians are educated about TAVR’s benefits, the hope is they will refer patients before their stenosis symptoms become severe. Dr. Rains encourages people not to dismiss symptoms, such as getting short of breath doing simple tasks, as just part of getting old.

TAVR procedures are a coordinated effort utilizing both Cardiac Catheterization Lab and Surgical Services staff. The TAVR team of providers at Baptist Health Paducah includes Dr. Rains, interventional cardiologist Michael Faulkner, MD and cardiothoracic surgeons Austin Ward, MD and Nicholas Lopez, MD.

To learn more about TAVR at Baptist Health Paducah, call Kristin Kirby at 270.575.8349