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Physicians at University of Utah Health Mark Significant Milestone



Surgeons and interventional cardiologists at University of Utah Health have performed their 1,000th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive procedure used to treat aortic stenosis.

Aortic stenosis is a diagnosis where the aortic valve becomes narrowed and causes decreased blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta and body organs. This condition may cause shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, dizziness, and other symptoms.

Aortic stenosis may be a congenital defect, but is more commonly caused by aging and calcium buildup in older adults. The TAVR procedure restores proper blood circulation by inserting a replacement valve into the damaged valve via a catheter-based procedure.

“We are proud to be able to highlight our expertise in treating patients with aortic stenosis by shining a light on the success of our structural heart and TAVR program,” said, Sara Pereira, M.D., F.A.C.S., professor of surgery, University of Utah Health. “This procedure greatly benefits our patients, as it is minimally invasive which allows them to recover quickly, and gives them the opportunity to get back to an active lifestyle with minimal downtime. Today, we celebrate not only with our multi-disciplinary team of experts, but also with our patients and families whose lives this procedure has impacted in such a positive way.”

The benefit to the TAVR procedure is that it is less invasive, requiring only wires and small catheters, and does not require open-heart surgery. A patient can usually sit up and walk, eat solid food, and visit with family within six hours following the procedure.  The typical hospital stay for patients following a TAVR procedure is one day.

“The process of diagnosing and treating TAVR patients here at University of Utah Health is unique for an academic medical center,” said Anwar Tandar, M.D., co-director of the structural heart and TAVR Program. “Our experts employ a multi-disciplinary approach comprised of cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional cardiologists, nurse practitioners, anesthesiologists, echo technicians, and patient care coordinators. We’re extremely proud of the collaborative work our teams manage with our aortic stenosis patients – from diagnostics, pre-procedure consulting, surgery, and follow up –  to insure the best possible outcomes.”

Learn more about aortic stenosis and TAVR.