Northern Arizona Healthcare (NAH) announced that it is offering Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) at the Cardiovascular Institute in Flagstaff. The TAVR procedure replaces the diseased aortic valve in people who have severe aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the aortic valve that reduces blood flow. This is the first time that this technologically advanced procedure has been offered in northern Arizona, preventing patients from having to travel to Phoenix or elsewhere to access similar care.
“This is an exciting expansion of care to communities in northern Arizona,” said Dr. Leder, board-certified interventional cardiologist at the NAH Cardiovascular Institute. “Prior to TAVR being offered in Flagstaff, many patients would either have to have open-heart surgery or travel to Phoenix to get the TAVR procedure done there. Bringing this less invasive technology locally allows us to be on the cutting edge of care by providing residents a more advanced level of treatment right in their backyard,” Dr. Leder added.
Aortic stenosis is one of the most common and most serious valve disease problems and it affects nearly 2.5 million Americans older than 75 years. The aortic valve is one of four valves that control blood flow in the heart. The aortic valve specifically controls the blood that runs from the heart through the aorta and to the rest of the body. Over time, or because of a congenital heart defect, people can develop aortic stenosis, a type of heart valve disease.
Compared with open-heart surgery, TAVR is a less invasive procedure, as it involves making a small incision in the leg versus opening up the chest. TAVR uses a small catheter that is pushed through an artery to the heart and places a new valve within a diseased aortic valve. The less invasive nature of the procedure also means reduced recovery time.
This new technological offering in Flagstaff expands on NAH’s commitment to bringing quality health care close to home. Before this service was offered at NAH, patients would be sent to Phoenix for this procedure, adding hours of driving to the procedure time and cost, presenting a burden to potentially appropriate patients. Severe aortic stenosis patients can now receive this minimally invasive aortic valve replacement right here in Flagstaff, where most patients will recover overnight and be home the very next day.