Milestone Reached in Groundbreaking Valve Replacement (TAVR)
ALBANY, N.Y., Oct. 2, 2013 — Albany Medical Center, which was one of the first centers in the nation to perform a highly complex minimally invasive heart procedure following FDA approval two years ago, performed its 100th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
TAVR, which is 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, M.D., 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.”
As she waited Wednesday morning to become Albany Med’s 100th TAVR patient, Dorothy Wozniak, a 95-year-old from Scotia, said the procedure offers her a chance to resume doing things she loved.
“I want to get more active,” she said, surrounded by family. “I used to take a lot of walks. And go shopping.”
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, M.D., 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.”
Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York’s only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 651-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region’s largest physicians practice with nearly 400 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region’s health and quality of life. For more information: www.amc.edu or www.facebook.com/albanymedicalcenter.
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