Renown performs its first TAVR procedures

The TAVR surgical team at Renown Health.

The TAVR surgical team at Renown Health.

The Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health said it has performed its first transaortic valve replacement procedures.

Renown Health, which is the first hospital system to use the device in northern Nevada, said a medical team started doing the surgeries in September, and has performed a total of five so far.

The TAVR procedure inserts a small artificial heart valve through an artery in the groin. The valve is threaded to the narrow valve and expanded, pushing the narrow, calcified valve out of the way.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the procedure in 2012 for select patients who aren’t surgical candidates.

Having an alternative to save lives and improve the quality of lives is vital to caring for patients with heart disease, which remains the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S., according to Renown.

“Offering TAVR is an important step in improving heart health for local patients, their families and the community as a whole,” said Dr. Jake Ichino, interventional cardiologist at Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health.

“We are proud to say this procedure can greatly improve a patient’s quality of life when they don’t have the option to undergo open-heart surgery. We have already seen the results firsthand with our first five patients.”

One northern Nevada resident made the decision to have the device planted inside her heart to make her golden years more active ones.

Patsy Welch Fransway, 85, said she felt better immediately. “When you have a heart problem, you just don’t feel right,” Fransway said. “This has given me a new lease on life after being told I had just one year to live in January.”

Fransway was released from the hospital in just two days. Hospitalizations for open-heart aortic valve replacement surgeries average 5-10 days and up to four weeks of at home recovery. TAVR doesn’t require stopping the patient’s heart or hooking them up to a heart-lung machine and normally takes just one to two hours versus four hours for open-heart surgery.

Renown said it has an average of one patient a week scheduled for the TAVR procedure. Before the health system invested in the technology and training to offer the service, patients had to travel to Las Vegas, Salt Lake City or Sacramento for the treatment.


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