Prior to scheduling procedures, a multi-disciplinary Heart Team reviews the clinical presentation for TAVR and other valvular and/or complex coronary artery disease patient candidates. Heart Team team members include (left-to-right): Catie Rosa, RN; Allison Kioutas, APRN; Ann Nelson, APRN; Kim Crosby, APRN; Gyu Gang, MD; Sujith Kalathiveetil, MD; Jonathan Tomasko, MD and Imran Ahmad, MD. Not pictured: Peter Kerwin, MD; Ulrich Luft, MD; Ethan Kosova, MD; Michael Tseng, MD; and Aaron Wielenberg, MD.
Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Central DuPage Hospital has achieved a milestone: the completion of its 200th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure with zero in-hospital mortalities.
“Our TAVR team is very proud of this milestone achievement,” says Imran N. Ahmad, MD, RMG interventional cardiologist and medical director of the CDH Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. “With the expansion of TAVR to low-risk surgical patients, we have experienced increases in physician referrals for evaluation for this minimally invasive therapy. Our program growth has successfully met this need in a safe and efficient manner. This accomplishment is reflective of the hard work and dedication that we provide to each of our patients. We are very proud of our excellent clinical outcomes”
“It has been an honor and privilege to be part of the growth and success of the TAVR program at Central DuPage Hospital,” says Gyu Gang, MD, chief of Cardiac Surgery in the West Region. “The success of the program is a direct result of the thoughtful collaborative approach by all the members of the TAVR Team, and its growth reflects the excellence we have established, and the trust our colleagues and community place in our efforts. As we continue in our collaborative efforts to relieve suffering and extend life, the program will get even better!”
The first TAVR was performed at CDH in December 2016, shortly after a fall event announcing the expansion of the world-renowned Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute to CDH, Delnor Hospital and Kishwaukee Hospital. The program expanded in October 2018 when the DuPage Medical Group Structural Cardiology team also began performing TAVRs at CDH. In February 2019, the 100th TAVR was performed at CDH; 15 months later in May 2020, the 200th TAVR procedure was performed. The TAVR team has demonstrated strong clinical results, including zero in-hospital mortalities. Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital pioneered TAVR and transcatheter techniques.
“We are fortunate to have such talented and established colleagues as part of our BCVI team,” says Patrick M. McCarthy, MD, executive director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and chief of Cardiac Surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “They have achieved an inspiring level of safety with TAVR, as well as other complex procedures and surgeries. This team will benefit cardiovascular patients in the west suburbs for many years to come.”
During TAVR, interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons thread an artificial valve to the heart via a catheter, or tube, inserted in the patient’s groin. The patient’s aortic valve is then expanded, and the new valve is positioned in place. The TAVR valve pushes the patient’s damaged valve leaflets to the side, allowing the TAVR valve to take over the job of regulating blood flow. Transcatheter techniques like those used in TAVR allow the procedure to be performed while the patient’s heart is still beating, eliminating the need for the heart-lung machine and an open-heart operation.
TAVR is just as successful as open-heart valve replacement surgery and offers numerous advantages, including less pain and discomfort, quicker recovery, and shorter length of stay with many patients going home the next day. “Following a TAVR procedure, we often see dramatic changes in our patients with marked improvement in their quality of life,” says Dr. Ahmad. “It is such an amazing journey to be part of, and we are grateful for the trust that our patients and their families have in our entire team.”
Increased awareness of TAVR as a minimally invasive alternative to open-heart surgery, along with U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the procedure for low-risk surgical patients, has led to rapid expansion of the program at CDH.
“TAVR has been a paradigm-changing procedure in the treatment of valvular heart disease,” says Sujith Kalathiveetil MD, FACC, medical director of Echocardiography, DuPage Medical Group Cardiology. “The structural heart disease team at DuPage Medical Group began performing TAVR in 2015. As the program grew in size and scope, we recognized the importance of offering procedures such as TAVR at our affiliated hospitals. We have developed a strong and meaningful partnership with Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, and we plan to offer additional procedures at CDH in the near future.” In addition to the rapid growth of the heart valve program Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute expansion has led to numerous other developments at CDH, including partnership between cardiology and genetics, an advanced heart failure clinic, leading-edge procedures for heart rhythm disorders and a dedicated lipid clinic. With continued growth, the institute plans to introduce more complex cardiovascular programs at CDH, including transcatheter mitral valve procedures and a dyspnea clinic.