Bronson and Lakeland Hospitals Celebrate Completion of 100th TAVR Procedure
Feb 2, 2016 Share

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The cardiac teams at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo and Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph recently celebrated the completion of the 100th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure.

For people suffering from severe aortic stenosis—a hardening or narrowing of one of the heart valves—there are only two methods approved for commercial use in the United States: open heart surgery and TAVR. Nearly 1.5 million Americans have the condition, but 30 percent of them are not healthy enough to survive open heart surgery. TAVR is a less invasive option and makes it possible for high-risk patients to have surgery. Half of patients who do not get treatment for severe aortic stenosis die within two years.

Mark McMillin of Otsego considered himself fortunate to be the 100th TAVR patient at Bronson Methodist Hospital. At 68, his age made him one of the younger patients to undergo this procedure. However, since he had already had open heart surgery in the past, this was the best surgical option for him and was recommended by his cardiothoracic surgeon.

In October of 2015, McMillin’s surgical team performed the procedure using the transapical approach. The technique involved placing a new valve through a small incision on the left side of Mark’s chest and removing a small piece of his rib. “I really didn’t have much to fear going into the procedure because my doctors explained everything so well,” said McMillin “I am now walking about a mile a day and working on extending the distance.”

Bronson cardiologist Christopher Rogers says TAVR is a solution to a difficult problem. “We’re proud to be at the forefront in bringing one of the most advanced, minimally invasive heart treatment techniques to southwest Michigan.”

The TAVR program began in 2012 as a collaboration of Bronson Healthcare, Kalamazoo Anesthesiology and Lakeland Health. The TAVR team includes cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons from both Lakeland and Bronson. Members include interventional cardiologists, Dilip Arora, MD, Thomas Keller, Jr., MD, Thomas Pow, MD and Christopher Rogers, DO; cardiothoracic surgeons, Kourosh Baghelai, MD and Alphonse DeLucia III, MD; anesthesiologists, Heather Dobbs, MD, Patrick Sandell, MD and Gregory D. Schrock, MD; and program coordinator, Carmela Pulling, MA, BSN, RN.

The team completed months of intensive, specialized training to learn the TAVR procedure and is currently the only team in the region performing four different approaches.

For more information about TAVR or other valve procedures, or for an evaluation at the Bronson Heart Valve Clinic, call (269) 341-8630. To learn about Bronson’s heart and vascular services, visit, and for Lakeland Health Heart Center, visit or call (269) 983-8893.


About Bronson Heart & Vascular
Bronson Heart & Vascular is a comprehensive, regional collaboration for the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular conditions. A multidisciplinary team of adult and pediatric cardiovascular physicians, three hospitals and supporting services deliver an advanced, seamless continuum of care for patients throughout southwest and south central Michigan. Specialties include minimally invasive valve replacement, electrophysiology, peripheral vascular procedures and endovascular procedures. All Bronson Heart & Vascular cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons are board certified.

Bronson Methodist Hospital is rated by Healthgrades as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Vascular Surgery for 2016 and is a recipient of the Healthgrades 2016 Vascular Surgery Excellence Award™. In addition, we have five-star ratings for heart failure treatment, peripheral vascular bypass and abdominal aortic aneurysm repair.

About Lakeland Health Cardiac Services
The Lakeland Health Heart Center provides diagnostic, interventional and surgical procedures for the heart, as well as all blood vessels of the body. The multidisciplinary cardiac and vascular team utilizes evidence based protocols developed by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Door to Balloon Quality Alliance. These protocols help to save lives by reducing coronary angioplasty/stent treatment times for heart attack patients to 90 minutes or less.

Lakeland is one of only 160 healthcare systems in the nation to receive a Blue Distinction Center+ designation for Cardiac Care by the national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Lakeland’s Niles and St. Joseph Emergency Departments are two of only 13 accredited Chest Pain Centers in Michigan, an honor that means we can provide specialized care for patients with heart attack symptoms.

Related Videos

Your generosity can make a difference.