MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Reach Milestone

Heart Experts Perform Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement on 1000th Patient

July 1, 2021

BALTIMORE  — MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts performed a milestone one-thousandth transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedure at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital June 29th when they replaced the aortic valve in the heart of a 67-year old Dundalk man, without open heart surgery.

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital became a regional leader in performing transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR, when it was first introduced in 2012 as an alternative to traditional surgical aortic valve replacement through an open chest.

Using the TAVR approach, physicians are able to replace a patient’s narrowed aortic valve without open heart surgery. A new heart valve is inserted into the diseased heart valve on a small catheter inserted through the femoral leg artery. Once the new heart valve is expanded, it starts to work immediately. This is done while the patient’s heart is beating and the procedure takes under an hour.

Dr. John Wang, the chief of the cardiac catheterization lab and director of the structural heart program at MedStar Union Memorial, credits his team of interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, valve coordinators, nurses and techs for the momentous success of performing 1000 TAVR procedures, an option that was first available only to inoperable patients.

Dr. Wang said, “It has been an exciting journey to be part of this transformational technology. Prior to 2012 when we performed our first TAVR, patients had to undergo traditional open-heart surgery or were left with no options if they were too sick. Over the last decade our team has been able to impact the lives of more than a thousand patients with severe aortic stenosis. It’s an exciting time in cardiac care.”

Ken Rogers, the one-thousandth TAVR patient, called the procedure, “a miracle,” as he was preparing to go home the following day. “I feel great. I don’t feel any pain,” he added.

An estimated 2.5 million people over the age of 75, suffer with aortic stenosis, caused by calcium build-up in the aortic valve. The result is a narrowing in the valve which prevents it from opening and closing properly, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. The reduced blood flow increases pressure within the heart, causing the heart to weaken and function poorly.

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About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations.  MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic, the nation’s #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac surgery. This alliance also strengthens excellent clinical care and enables high-level collaboration on research.

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