St. David's HealthCare October 13, 2017

Significant Medical Milestone Achieved in Five Years

AUSTIN, Texas—On Sept. 26, 2017, physicians with Austin Heart and Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons performed the 500th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure at Heart Hospital of Austin. TAVR is a catheter-based valve replacement procedure that offers an alternative to traditional, open-chest surgery in patients with aortic stenosis, a condition that causes a narrowing of the aortic valve and obstruction of blood flow to the heart.  

TAVR consists of inserting a valve—which is compressed down to the diameter of a pencil—into the body via a catheter (a flexible tube), up to the aorta. After the catheter is advanced through the aorta and aortic valve, the valve is positioned and then opened with a balloon.

The first TAVR procedure in Central Texas was performed in 2012 at Heart Hospital of Austin. Since then, interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons have utilized new and improved valve technology, smaller implantation devices and moderate sedation techniques to improve patient outcomes and allow for a quicker recovery.

Initially, TAVR procedures were used to successfully treat patients who were not candidates for traditional, open-chest surgery due to advanced age, or because they are too ill or suffering from additional medical conditions. In the past few years, the Heart Valve Clinic has offered this procedure to moderate-risk patients, and the clinic is currently involved in a trial for low-risk patients.  

“Over the past five years, the Heart Valve Clinic has experienced remarkable success in treating patients with varied surgical risk,” Juhana Karha, M.D., medical director of the Heart Valve Clinic and interventional cardiologist at Austin Heart, said. “With the TAVR technology, we have been able to significantly impact the lives of hundreds of patients, allowing them to return to their normal lives with less pain and recovery.”  

Heart Hospital of Austin was among the first sites in the nation to acquire the TAVR technology after approval from the FDA in November 2011.

The Heart Valve Clinic at Heart Hospital of Austin operates under the guidance of Dr. Karha, as well as cardiothoracic surgeons, Faraz Kerendi, M.D., and Stephen Dewan, M.D., of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons. The clinic is designed to provide a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating and treating patients with valvular disease and disorders.

Heart Hospital of Austin

Heart Hospital of Austin is part of St. David’s HealthCare, one of the largest health systems in Texas, which was recognized with a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2014. Heart Hospital of Austin—home to one of the largest non-academic cardiovascular research programs in the world—is a 58-bed hospital with a comprehensive 24-hour emergency department, an advanced Executive Wellness Program, five operating rooms (ORs), including two hybrid ORs, three catheterization labs and two electrophysiology labs. It is one of the highest performing cardiovascular facilities in the nation, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. In conjunction with its parent campus, St. David’s Medical Center, Heart Hospital of Austin recently ranked among the top hospitals in the nation by earning a five-star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s (CMS) new Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating system, and received from Healthgrades the 2017 America’s 100 Best Hospitals Award™, 2017 Patient Safety Excellence Award™ and the 2017 Outstanding Patient Experience Award™—a unique trio of awards that only three hospitals in the nation were able to achieve. Heart Hospital of Austin has been named one of the Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospitals in the nation by Truven Health Analytics for ten years and to Truven's list of 100 Top Hospitals for five years, in conjunction with St. David’s Medical Center.