Deborah's TAVR Team


TAVR at Deborah Heart & Lung Center

July 02, 2018 - 11:27 am

An estimated 2.5 million Americans over the age of 75 suffer from aortic stenosis, a hardening and narrowing of the aortic valve – the primary valve that helps deliver blood through the body. It’s a progressive and life-threatening disease; without treatment, a patient with symptomatic AS has a 50 percent chance of dying within three years.

The hallmark symptom is shortness of breath. Patients may first find they can no longer sing or whistle, and as it progresses, a climb up stairs or a walk down the block can leave them winded, light-headed and extremely tired.

As recently as 5 years ago traditional open heart surgery was the standard for replacing a malfunctioning aortic valve, a several-hour procedure under general anesthesia. Recovery is often a week in the hospital, and most patients don't resume a normal lifestyle for several more weeks or even months.

Dr. Richard Kovach
Dr. Richard Kovach - CREDIT: Deborah
At Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Burlington County, Trans Aortic Valve Replacement – or TAVR—is another option. It uses a catheter threaded from the groin to place and expand a new valve and displace the faulty one. Patients are sedated, not anesthetized, during the procedure, which takes 30 minutes. Recovery typically consists of a day or two in the hospital, and patients can often resume normal activities soon after – in June a TAVR recipient in New York State made history by going home the same day!

Due to the number of tests performed and specialty consultations, the work-up for patients with aortic stenosis typically can take a long time. The TAVR Team at Deborah consolidates the resources needed to facilitate a more timely evaluation, under the guidance of a valve coordinator who shepherds patients through the whole process. The entire team brings its collective expertise to every case.

KYW’s Rasa Kaye talks with Director of Interventional Cardiology Dr. Richard Kovach about the TAVR Team and the trajectory of TAVR at Deborah.