Mercy Health  The Heart Institute’s transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) team has reached a new milestone, completing its 300th procedure late last year at Fairfield Hospital.

“I congratulate the large team that makes up our TAVR program on this milestone. Together, they deliver exceptional quality outcomes to patients undergoing this life-enhancing procedure,” said Daniel Eckert, MD, a cardiologist with The Heart Institute. 

Transcatheter valve therapy is a minimally invasive method of treating valve disease without open heart surgery. Instead of making a large incision in the chest, the medical team inserts a catheter into one of the leg arteries, which serves as a path to deliver the new valve. The replacement valve is crimped very tightly on a balloon, advanced through the catheter to the diseased valve and deployed with balloon inflation. Upon deflation and removal of the balloon, the new valve works immediately to help most patients experience instant clinical benefit.

Thomas Banks, 92, of Harrison, Ohio was the 300th patient and he’s able to joke about his experience.

“It wasn’t funny, but it left me in stitches,” he says before noting more seriously that “he was absolutely happy to not have open heart surgery. Nobody wants to go through that.” 

After just one night in the hospital, Banks went home and felt better immediately.

“I noticed the difference,” he says. “I’m not short of breath and have more stamina.”

“Since launching the program, we have treated numerous patients with complicated aortic, mitral and tricuspid valve disorders. We enjoyed exceptional outcomes with 100% procedural success said Dr. Eckert. “These outcomes are among the best in the country and highlight our commitment to providing cutting-edge technology with unparalleled safety to the community.” 

Patients suffering from any valvular disease may be potential candidates for this approach. The team performs the procedure, which takes less than 60 minutes, typically under twilight sedation in the cardiac cath lab. TAVR carries a very low risk of complications and patients are generally ready for discharge within 24 hours, with complete recovery in less than a week.

Dr. Eckert is part of a multidisciplinary TAVR team that includes The Heart Institute cardiologist Jonathan Rapp, MD and Mercy Health  Cardiovascular and Thoracic surgeons William Cook, MD and S. Russell Vester, MD. They perform the procedure at Mercy Health  Fairfield Hospital.

For more information about TAVR, please call Jami Heil, TAVR Program Coordinator, at 513-316-2450 or 513-751-4222.