UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital Heart Care team recently performed its 400th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). The procedure is the most up-to-date technique used for replacing diseased or faulty aortic valves. It is performed via catheter, rather than open-heart surgery, which means it is more comfortable for patients and requires significantly less recovery time. Most patients go home the following day.
St. Luke’s Heart Care first introduced TAVR to the Cedar Rapids area in 2016 and is the only hospital in the state to be recognized with the TAVR Valve Certification by the American College of Cardiology (ACC). Richard Kettelkamp, DO, St. Luke’s interventional and structural cardiologist and heart care services medical director, performed the milestone 400th procedure alongside Garry Weide, DO, St. Luke’s Heart & Lung Surgery cardiothoracic surgeon.
“Reaching 400 TAVRs is something our team is very proud of,” said Dr. Kettelkamp. “This procedure and others we’ve introduced over the years have allowed us to advance heart care in Cedar Rapids. It also underscores our experience and dedication to patients, which is what we’re all about at St. Luke’s.”
“When TAVR was first approved, it was for patients with severe aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve) who were at prohibitive risk for open-heart surgery,” explained Aref Bin Abdulhak, MD, St. Luke’s interventional and structural cardiologist and medical director of St Luke’s structural heart disease program. “Now TAVR is approved for all surgical-risk categories and is becoming the standard of care for suitable patients. TAVR involves careful planning and coordination between the structural cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon, cardiac imaging cardiologists, referring physician and valve coordinators. Part of that discussion includes planning for a second valve, if needed, at the time of the first valve implantation. Training, experience and continuous education matter. We are fortunate at St. Luke’s to have a team of outstanding physicians, nurses and valve care coordinators who put the patient at the center of care.”