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Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Call for more information: 770-219-5416

An Option for Aortic Valve Replacement: TAVR

Aortic stenosis is a common problem that prevents proper opening of the heart’s aortic valve and affects up to 1.5 million people in the United States.  The Heart Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) offers an innovative treatment for this condition by replacing the diseased valve with a minimally-invasive approach.

Aortic stenosis occurs when the aortic valve of the heart thickens and hardens, which makes it more difficult for the valve to open.  This restricts blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta, and all the vital organs of the body.

People with aortic stenosis often have a heart murmur that may be present for years before aortic stenosis becomes severe.

Surveying the Treatment Options

Traditionally, the standard of care for patients with aortic stenosis was open-heart surgery to replace the valve.  Patients are placed on a heart-lung bypass machine, an incision is made in the breastbone, and the defective valve is removed and replaced with a tissue valve or manmade valve.

Aortic valve replacement through open-heart surgery has saved millions of lives and is still the most common method of treatment for aortic stenosis, typically used in patients who are younger and without other health problems. However, because of the invasive nature of this surgical procedure, many patients weren’t considered candidates, leaving them without a viable treatment option. Failure to replace the aortic valve in patients with symptoms and severe aortic stenosis leads to poor survival—worse than with many cancers.

For patients who are considered intermediate or at high risk for surgery, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, commonly called TAVR, may be a good treatment option.  

After TAVR, patients typically go home within two to four days and are usually fully recovered within a week or two. In addition to surviving longer, they have a much better quality of life with less shortness of breath and more energy.

“TAVR is a perfect procedure for patients with aortic stenosis,” says Daniel Winston, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group.  “It can certainly improve quality of life and longevity of life. In addition, it offers a much less invasive alternative to surgery.”

Why TAVR?

At The Heart Center of NGMC, we believe all patients should have viable treatment options.  TAVR provides an option for patients who previously were considered untreatable and for those who would have a difficult time recovering from traditional open-heart surgery.

“For many years, aortic stenosis has claimed the lives of millions of people who were not candidates for valve replacement surgery because of higher risk,” says Kyle Thompson, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group.  “TAVR has saved the lives of many people who have not had options in the past.  The advancements of technology in this field have made treatment of aortic stenosis markedly safer over the past decade and have improved the survival and quality of life for patients worldwide.”

To request an appointment with a cardiologist at The Heart Center of NGMC, call 770-534-2020 or visit heartngmc.org/appointment.

Questions?

Call the Heart & Vascular Services department at 770-219-5416 or fill out our contact form for more information.

Copyright ©2020 Northeast Georgia Health System, Inc. | 743 Spring Street Gainesville, GA 30501 | (770) 219-9000

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If you have a fever and cough or difficulty breathing, these steps will help you find the care you need and limit the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our region:

  • Call before you come

    Please call your doctor's office or an urgent care clinic for advice about where you should go for treatment.

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  • Consider staying home and taking advantage of an E-Visit

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We want to thank our community and local businesses for their amazing generosity during this time. Here are some ways you can support our community and staff:

  • Donate items and resources

    We are currently receiving donations of items and other resources through the Foundation. Learn how to donate resources and other needed items by clicking here.

  • Sew Masks for Healthcare Workers

    Many people in our community are sewing masks for our healthcare workers. We have created some mask sewing instructions and information about drop-off locations. Get detailed mask-making instructions here.

  • Send a Digital Letter

    We would like your help making digital letters for the residents at New Horizons Nursing home. Email a letter to NewHorizonsAdmin@nghs.com and we will hand them out to our residents and staff to enjoy.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, so the best way to avoid infection is to avoid exposure. Here are simple steps you can take to lower your risk of catching or spreading illness:

  • Wear a mask – a cloth face cover can protect other people in case you are infected. Everyone should wear a cloth face cover in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household. Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Avoid close contact – maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household. If someone in your household is sick, maintain 6 feet of distance from them as well.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching tissues.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces to help prevent the spread of germs
  • Monitor your health daily –  Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

Learn more by visiting the CDC COVID-19 website.

In late January, NGHS created a Coronavirus Task Force including leaders from across the system to begin preparing for the possibility that our facilities and staff may see patients with COVID-19.

We have been following the guidance of the CDC and are working to ensure staff are diligent in following standard protocol to ask patients about their travel history. In the event that additional preparation is needed, this team will move swiftly to follow any new guidance.

About COVID-19 Testing:

NGHS has the ability to coordinate testing at some of our locations. Please call your doctor's office or urgent care clinic for advice about whether testing is right for you. Recently we implemented a new E-Visit specific to the Coronavirus.

Learn more about E-Visits from these area practices:

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