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Albany Med Today

Milestone: 100th TAVR Patient

Dorothy Wozniak, a 95-year-old from Scotia, is back to doing what she loves after becoming the 100th Albany Med patient to receive a transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR.

“I’m feeling great after the surgery,” she said after having the procedure in October. “I can go shopping now; before I couldn’t. I had a lot of problems walking; now I’m taking walks. I’m very happy.”

Albany Med was one of the first centers in the nation to perform the highly complex, minimally invasive heart procedure following FDA approval two years ago.

TAVR, used for patients too frail for more conventional procedures, allows a surgeon to access and replace a faulty valve in a patient’s heart through a catheter inserted in the thigh or through a small incision in the side of the chest rather than using open-heart surgery. It is used to treat an obstruction of the aortic valve known as aortic stenosis by improving blood flow from the heart to the aorta.

“Very sick or frail patients who might otherwise be turned down for bypass or other surgical options have had years given to them thanks to the TAVR procedure,” said Augustin DeLago, MD, director of Interventional Cardiology. “The minimally invasive approach to valve replacement not only causes less trauma to our patients, but has proven to improve their symptoms and increase their life expectancy.”

Dr. DeLago said the one-year mortality rate and complications from stroke following TAVR procedures at Albany Med are roughly half the national average.

“This milestone is a testament to this innovative procedure and the trust the public puts in the hands of Albany Med surgeons,” said Edward Bennett, MD, chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. “Our surgical and cardiac teams are the area’s most experienced in this and many other surgical procedures. The results bear that out.”