First in Macomb: TAVR for heart valve replacement

McLaren Macomb TAVR Team

Until recently, patients who were at an increased risk for potentially life-saving but invasive open heart surgery had few options to treat their aortic stenosis.

But McLaren Macomb's introduction of the minimally invasive TAVR procedure to Macomb County gives a new option to those patients.

The Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement procedure-or TAVR for short-replaces the malfunctioning aortic valve with an artificial valve (a hybrid of organic tissue supported by a metallic stent) in patients who are at an intermediate- or high-risk for surgery, avoiding their need for heart surgery.

McLaren Macomb, through its Mat Gaberty Heart Center, is the first hospital in Macomb County to offer this procedure.

"While we can manage the symptoms of aortic stenosis with medication, we can truly treat the disease and improve the patient's quality of life by replacing the flawed valve," said Dr. Timothy Logan, an interventional cardiologist with the McLaren Cardiovascular Institute. "Due to many factors, open heart surgery may be too risky for some patients. TAVR, through its innovative means, allows us to offer a less-invasive option to those patients who need it most."

A narrowing of the aorta, the main artery branching off of the heart, aortic stenosis can keep the aortic valve from functioning properly and opening fully, reducing the amount of blood flowing to the body and causing the heart to overwork and weaken.

With more than 200,000 reported cases in the United States each year, aortic stenosis can cause chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath, leading to a decreased quality of life and eventual heart failure. Utilizing advanced imaging, a catheter is inserted in the groin and tunneled to the heart, guiding the artificial valve to the malfunctioning aortic valve. The artificial valve is then deployed within the diseased valve after an angioplasty balloon pushes the valve's leaflets out of the way.

The McLaren Macomb TAVR team includes interventional cardiologists, a cardiothoracic surgeon and specially trained support staff. To become qualified to perform TAVR, McLaren Macomb physicians and staff received extensive training.

To learn more about TAVR, visit mclaren.org/macombheart.