100th Heart Valve Replaced Using Minimally Invasive Approach at Covenant HealthCare

As of April 11, 2017, Covenant HealthCare has performed its 100th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure. TAVR is a procedure that replaces a heart valve without ever cutting into the chest. In September 2014, Covenant became the first hospital in the Great Lakes Bay Region to perform the TAVR procedure.

The team of physicians includes:

  • Dr. Safwan Kassas, Medical Director ‐ Structural Heart Program at Covenant, Interventional Cardiologist, MCVI
  • Dr. Manoj Sharma, Medical Director ‐ Covenant Cath Lab, Interventional Cardiologist, Covenant Cardiology
  • Dr. Adebambo Kadri, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, MCVI
  • Dr. Daniel Meldrum, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Covenant Cardiology
  • Dr. Peter Fattal, Cardiologist, MCVI
  • Dr. Parthiv Amin, Cardiologist, Covenant Cardiology

This is a significant milestone because many patients are not well enough to undergo traditional open heart surgery due to health risk factors. For people who have severe aortic stenosis, the only effective treatment is aortic valve replacement.

For those who are not eligible for open heart surgery, TAVR may be a non‐surgical option. The TAVR procedure does not require the chest to be opened or the heart to be stopped, rather a valve is replaced through a small incision in the leg.

It is done in the catheterization laboratory (cath lab) using a sheath (a short hollow tube) inserted in the groin and through the femoral artery to the heart. There, specialized equipment is used to place the new valve in the patient’s heart. The new valve, made from cow pericardium, is custom fit using CT scans.

The benefits to patients? Studies show recovery is quicker, patients are moving sooner, go home earlier, and rehospitalization rates are lower. As Covenant Interventional Cardiologist Manoj Sharma, MD, FACC, points out, “Without this new procedure, many patients would be left untreated due to their surgical risk. We are focused on improving the patient’s quality of life after this procedure.”

Covenant Center for the Heart Physicians and MCVI together are collaboratively working on these procedures. There have been years of rigorous hands‐on training and testing, and the cardiologists have worked with an entire team of clinical specialists to bring this treatment to the region.

Questions about TAVR? Call Covenant Cardiology at 989.497.9395 or MCVI at 989.754.3000 extension 4307.

See a video on a past patient experience with TAVR here.