Dr. Webb, who created the minimally invasive technique and practices at the University of British Columbia, performed the world’s first TAVR procedure in 2005. Earlier this week, he paid a visit to Chandler Regional to tour its TAVR program and to present about the latest innovations and future of valve surgery. Nearly 40 heart doctors from around the Valley attended the medical presentation.
“It was really exciting to have Dr. Webb visit Chandler Regional,” says Dan Sraow, MD, director of the structural heart program at Chandler Regional. “His work with TAVR has really become the future of valve surgery and it was such an honor to have him travel to the Phoenix area to see our program.”
Nationwide, the average number of TAVR cases at a facility per year is just 62. Since opening in October 2016, heart experts at Chandler Regional have performed nearly 50 TAVRs already. In addition to Dr. Sraow, the TAVR team at Chandler Regional also includes interventional cardiologists Abdul Memon, MD, and Kush Agrawal, MD.
One of the latest technologies in cardiac care, TAVR is used to treat patients suffering from one of the most common and most serious heart valve issues, called aortic stenosis. Though the innovative technology is relatively new, doctors say it can be a valuable option for patients who need aortic valve repair and currently have limited choices.
At Chandler Regional, the surgery is done in a catheterization laboratory and involves implanting a replacement valve inside of the failing valve site, which eliminates the need to invasively remove old, damaged tissue. Once expanded, the tissue in the TAVR device takes over the job of regulating blood flow. TAVR is FDA approved for people who have symptomatic aortic stenosis and are too high risk for an open heart procedure.
“There is great need for this procedure in the East Valley communities. Too many patients currently go untreated because of mistaken beliefs that there is nothing more to be done. But, TAVR is a true breakthrough for older patients when standard valve replacement is too risky,” says Dan Sraow. “Standard valve replacement requires open heart surgery and several days in recovery. TAVR is much less invasive and can drastically lessen recovery time, providing almost immediate results.”
The average length of stay for a TAVR patient at Chandler Regional is about 30 to 36 hours; just one night in the hospital. Dr. Sraow says it is not only a lifesaving procedure, but one that significantly improves quality of life for both the patient and their caregivers.
Pictured: Cardiac experts at Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center, Dr. Brady (left) and Dr. Sraow (right), pose for a quick picture with Dr. John Webb—the expert physician who created the TAVR procedure now being used at both Chandler Regional and St. Joseph’s.