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Doc Talk: TAVR procedure

Doc Talk: TAVR procedure. (WWMT/Patrick Hagan)

The goal of a progressive procedure called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is to give heart patients a longer life and better heart.

Doctors say TAVR is safe, more comfortable for patients and it's becoming common practice at Borgess. Newschannel 3's Erica Mokay has more about the procedure in this edition of Doc Talk.

Borgess Heart Institute Vice Chairman Dr. Vishal Gupta said, “This is the aortic valve. What we call aortic stenosis. Very thick, there's a lot of calcium, it’s a very stiff valve.”

A fix for a stiff valve and ailing heart. One that is less invasive than open heart surgery and life changing for those at high risk.

Gupta said, “This is completely a new hope for those patients who are not a candidate for open heart at all.”

With a catheter, doctors are able to take a replacement valve from an entry point, usually the groin, to the heart, putting the new one inside the old one.

Gupta said, “And then inflate or expand the valve inside the old valve.

Making it function like new.

He said, “Several years ago we would have patients with severe valve stenosis and we would say ‘Sorry, we can’t do anything for you.’ They would go home and eventually die. Now, we have a hope and a light for them.”

Borgess doctors have been doing the procedure for the past four years and they average 10 a month. In February, they'll be helping their 200th TAVR patient.

Gupta said, “Our patients have been happy, healthy, I mean we just follow them and they are feeling great.”

He says they've haven't had many complications, but instead plenty of success even treating patients in their 90s.

He said, “I had one patient actually, he's 90 years old, he actually left within 24 hours of his procedure. We did his procedure late in the afternoon and I discharged him the next morning. So, he was not even in the hospital for 24 hours.”

Gupta says they have a patient who is 96-years-old scheduled for the procedure.

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