Springfield hospital adds new heart surgery procedure

Mercy Health’s Springfield Regional Hospital has added a type of heart valve replacement procedure, hospital officials say is minimally invasive.

A physician and surgeon performed the hospital’s first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) last month. The method is an alternative to open heart surgery. Instead of making a large incision in the chest, a catheter is instead inserted into one of the leg arteries that acts as a conduit for the new valve.

“Our TAVR program is the result of two years of planning and hard work to offer our patients the most advanced treatment option for valve replacement,”said Adam Groshans, president of Mercy Health Springfield, in a news release. “I congratulate the entire heart care team on this achievement.”

MORE: How did your district do on the 2018-19 state report card?

Hospital officials said as part of the procedure, the new valve is compressed tightly onto a balloon and is advanced through the catheter to the diseased valve. It is put in place when the balloon is inflated.

“The new valve is immediately functional and most patients experience instant clinical benefit,” the release said.

The procedure can also be used to treat patients with aortic valve stenosis, which is a narrowing of the valve, or those who have similar conditions.

“Patients suffering from any aortic valvular disease may be potential candidates for this approach,” said Dr. Faiq Akhter, director of cardiology at Springfield Regional Medical Center. “We perform the procedure, which takes less than 60 minutes, in the cardiac cath lab. It carries a very low risk of complications. Patients are generally ready for discharge within 48 hours and can expect a complete recovery within several days.”

Akhter, who helped perform the procedure at the hospital last month, underwent intensive TAVR training, including performing more than 50 procedures off site, according to a news release sent by the hospital this week. He is part of a multidisciplinary team of physicians and surgeons that perform the procedure at Springfield Regional.

UPDATE: Jury finds Brooke Skylar Richardson not guilty on murder charge

Sharon Hanlin of St. Paris was the first TAVR patient at the hospital.

“I am more than pleased with the results. I would have been in great pain for days from having my sternum opened. Instead, I was only in the hospital for two nights,” she said. “I have a bad back and I was limiting my lifestyle and jobs throughout the day. I thought it was due to my back and never thought it was due to my heart.”

About the Author