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Published on February 07, 2018

MidMichigan Celebrates 100th Heart Valve Procedure Milestone

Group photo of members of MidMichigan Health's Structural Heart Program.Members of MidMichigan Health’s Structural Heart Program - Pictured in the front row from left to right: Program Coordinator Annette Fruge, R.N., Anesthesiologist Thomas Tarn, D.O., Interventional Cardiologists Maged Rizk, M.D., Ph.D., and Andrzej Boguszewski, M.D., Cardiologist/Cardiac Imaging Specialist Jeffrey Martindale, D.O., Cardiothoracic Surgeon Robert Jones, M.D., and Anesthesiologist Gerald Augustin, M.D. Pictured in rows two and three include members of the Heart Valve Clinic, anesthesia staff, cardiovascular imaging staff, invasive imaging pre and post-procedure staff, cardiac cath lab staff and operating room staff. Structural heart physician team members not pictured include Cardiovascular Surgeon Hassan Reda, M.D., Cardiologists/Cardiac Imaging Specialists Susan Sallach, M.D., and Waleed Doghmi, M.D., and Anesthesiologist Greg Kleynberg, M.D.

In July 2016, members of MidMichigan’s comprehensive Structural Heart Program began performing a new minimally invasive heart valve procedure known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This month, MidMichigan celebrates a program milestone with the completion of its 100th TAVR case. The TAVR procedure, which is less invasive than traditional heart valve replacement surgery, involves inserting an artificial aortic valve through an artery in the neck, leg or between the ribs, and placing it inside the patient’s diseased heart valve while the heart is still beating.

According to Cardiovascular Service Line Chief William Felten, M.D., due the complexity of the procedure, it requires the involvement of a multi-disciplinary team of specialists. “Our team at MidMichigan is top notch and includes Cardiologists/Cardiac Imaging Specialists Susan Sallach, M.D., Jeffrey Martindale, D.O., and Waleed  Doghmi, M.D.; Interventional Cardiologists Andrzej Boguszewski, M.D., and Maged Rizk, M.D., Ph.D.; and Cardiovascular Surgeons Robert Jones, M.D., and Hassan Reda, M.D.,” he said.

While TAVR is not suitable for all patients, this alternative approach to traditional surgery may provide hope to patients who are at high risk or otherwise too sick for surgery and has been proven to consistently lengthen a patient’s life and improve their quality of life.

“One of the main conditions that causes the aortic heart valve to narrow is aortic stenosis (AS),” said Dr. Felten. “Under this condition, the heart must work harder to pump blood to the aorta. The heart muscle eventually weakens with AS, which can affect a patient’s overall health. Severe AS, if left untreated, increases the risk for heart failure and is a life-threatening condition, with a two-year mortality rate between 50 and 60 percent, and a three-year rate less than 30 percent.”

Signs and symptoms of severe AS can include chest pain or tightness, feeling faint or fainting with activity, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, irregular heart beat or an unusual sound during a heartbeat.

Those who have been diagnosed with moderate to severe or severe aortic stenosis are encouraged to talk with their primary care provider about treatment options. Those who would like more information about the TAVR procedure or MidMichigan’s Heart Valve Clinic may visit www.midmichigan.org/heartvalveclinic.