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Exterior photo of Memorial Hospital in Bakersfield, CA

Dignity Health Memorial Hospital is First Hospital in Nation’s Largest Health System to Use Next Generation in Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation

BAKERSFIELD, CA – AUGUST 16, 2023 – Dignity Health Memorial Hospital is proud to announce it is the first hospital out of CommonSpirit Health’s 140 hospitals nationwide to perform the groundbreaking Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation procedure using Abbott's Navitor™ TAVI System. This groundbreaking advancement in the field of minimally invasive cardiac procedures is designed to address the critical needs of patients suffering from aortic valve stenosis and revolutionizes the treatment landscape for patients who are at high risk for conventional open-heart surgery.

"Memorial performed the 12th implantation in California since the FDA approved the Navitor TAVI System in January. This marks a significant milestone in our commitment to advancing patient care through cutting-edge medical technologies,” said Ken Keller, President & CEO of Memorial Hospital in Bakersfield, CA. “We are confident that this groundbreaking solution will make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients suffering from aortic valve stenosis, providing them with a new lease on life."

During the TAVI procedure, Dr. Caleb Thompson, Medical Director of Structural Heart Program and Dr. Eric Peck, Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Memorial Hospital worked collaboratively to guide a specially designed catheter through a small incision, typically in the groin area. The catheter is then threaded up to the heart, where the new valve is precisely positioned within the native aortic valve. Once securely in place, the new valve is expanded, effectively replacing the damaged valve and restoring proper blood flow.

"At Memorial Hospital, we are committed to delivering the latest advancements in medical technology to our patients," said Dr. Thompson. "Since launching its TAVR program seven years ago, Memorial has continued to invest in new technology that is changing lives for cardiac patients in our community. The procedure was a great success, and the patient is doing well. This represents a major breakthrough in our ability to provide personalized, innovative care for individuals suffering from severe aortic valve stenosis."

Aortic valve stenosis, a common and potentially life-threatening condition, occurs when the aortic valve narrows, obstructing blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. Historically, open-heart surgery has been the standard treatment for aortic valve replacement, but not all patients are suitable candidates for this approach due to their age or underlying health conditions. This new procedure now provides a viable alternative for those individuals.

Advantages of Abbott's Navitor TAVI System include:

  • Minimally Invasive: Compared to traditional open-heart surgery, TAVI requires smaller incisions, reducing recovery time and the risk of complications.
  • Shorter Hospital Stay: With TAVI, patients typically experience shorter hospital stays, allowing them to return to their daily lives more quickly.
  • Suitable for High-Risk Patients: TAVI offers a treatment option for patients who may not be candidates for open-heart surgery due to age or other medical conditions.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Patients undergoing TAVI often report a significant improvement in symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain.

To arrange an interview with our Dignity Health Structural Heart team, please call 661-541-0322. To learn more about cardiac services at Memorial Hospital, visit


About Bakersfield Memorial Hospital

Bakersfield Memorial Hospital is a 426 bed acute care medical center offering a full range of services including the Sarvanand Heart and Brain Center, Grossman Burn Center at Memorial Hospital, expanded maternity and family care, the Lauren Small Children’s Center, orthopedic services, wound care center, 24-hour emergency care and general/outpatient surgery. Memorial Hospital is a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and is home to the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House. Memorial Hospital is a member of Dignity Health and is a trusted community partner, serving residents of Bakersfield and Kern County with quality, compassionate care since 1956. Learn more at


Publish date: 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Media Contact


Violeta Trujillo

p: (661) 541-0322

[email protected]