Lakeland Health Care

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

The only two-hospital team in the country performing Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacements

The cardiac teams at Lakeland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph and Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo have joined forces to become the first in the region to offer a lifesaving procedure that gives new hope for many people with severe aortic stenosis.

The procedure, called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), is currently the only method other than open-heart surgery approved for commercial use in the United States for people suffering from severe aortic stenosis; or hardening or narrowing of one of the heart valves.

Nearly 1.5 million Americans suffer from this condition, but 30% are not healthy enough to survive open-heart surgery.

Half of patients who do not receive the proper treatment for severe aortic stenosis succumb to the condition within 2 years.

Since earning FDA approval for its Sapien valve in 2011, the manufacturer Edwards Lifesciences has been carefully selecting high-performing hospitals to offer the new device. Based on the quality of their cardiac programs and the ability to meet certain Medicare criteria, Edwards selected Bronson and Lakeland to pioneer the procedure in southwest Michigan.

They are the first and only two-hospital team in the country performing TAVR. TAVR procedures are performed on the campus of Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo.

The TAVR team of 7 includes cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons from both Lakeland and Bronson. Members from Lakeland include:

What happens during the TAVR procedure?

Your surgeon will pass a small balloon through an artery in your leg up into the narrowed valve. When the balloon is in place, it will be inflated to open up your narrowed valve and make room for the new valve. The balloon is then removed and the new valve is passed up through the same artery into your narrowed valve. The new valve has a balloon inside that will inflate and open up inside the old valve. The balloon will be removed while the new valve remains in place; improving the blood flow from your heart.

In November of 2012, the Lakeland/Bronson team performed TAVR on their first patient; 91 year-old Rudy Koshar of St. Joseph. Rudy faced a life or death situation after his heart began giving out again. Open-heart surgery wasn't an option as Rudy already endured quintuple-bypass surgery in 1998. Under the direction and guidance of Drs. Pow and Baghelai, Rudy was the first ideal candidate to undergo this minimally-invasive procedure. Read Rudy’s full story. 


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