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New Structural Heart Program at Genesis

New Structural Heart Program at Genesis

Friday, July 12, 2019

Press Release

Zanesville, Ohio (July 12, 2019) - Genesis HealthCare System has launched a Structural Heart program that includes minimally invasive heart procedures never performed in the region. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) uses advanced imaging, tiny catheters and no incision to replace diseased valves instead of open-heart surgery.

“Before TAVR, patients had to undergo traditional open-heart surgery with a sternotomy where the chest is physically separated for the procedure,” explained Atiq Rehman, M.D., chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Genesis. “With TAVR, it’s a paradigm shift where a new valve is delivered through a catheter through the arteries in the groin or through the chest wall.”

During the TAVR procedure, the physician will guide a thin, flexible tube containing the new heart valve through a blood vessel in the leg. Once positioned, the valve will begin working immediately. Because the procedure is minimally invasive, patients usually have less pain and quicker recovery times with an overnight stay in the hospital for most patients.

“TAVR is for patients with symptomatic aortic stenosis who are a high or intermediate risk for open heart surgery.” The Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing encouraging data from trials and it is hoped by the end of the year that TAVR will be available for most patients with critical aortic stenosis including the low risk patients.

Aortic stenosis is the stiffening or narrowing of the aortic valve. Aortic stenosis can be caused by the normal aging process. Calcium build up is the most common cause. Aortic stenosis usually affects elderly patients with other medical risk factors that make them better candidates for TAVR.