LewisGale Medical Center
February 02, 2022

Salem, VA.  — LewisGale Medical Center announced it now offers transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) service, a minimally-invasive alternative to open heart surgery. 

Candidates for TAVR suffer from aortic stenosis, a common but serious valve problem in which the aortic valve opening narrows, dangerously restricting blood flow and affecting pressure in the heart. TAVR replaces damaged aortic valves through a catheter, in contrast to open-heart surgery in which surgeons cut open the chest to expose the heart. 

“The minimally invasive surgical procedure repairs the damaged aortic valve without removing the native valve which causes less trauma to the heart and to the patient. The TAVR procedure allows for a mechanical replacement valve to be wedged within the patient’s aortic valve to achieve a return to normal function,” said interventional cardiologist Dr. Owusu Asamoah. 

“There is less trauma to the patient because it does not require surgical opening of the chest cavity to repair or replace the damaged aortic valve. There is less bleeding, less risk of infection, minimal to no pain, and the patient can get back to normal activity in weeks as opposed to months. Patients notice an immediate improvement in energy, ability to breathe, and return to normal activities,” said Asamoah. 

TAVR is unlike traditional open heart surgery in that it is a closed chest treatment that takes place while the patient's heart is still beating. It eliminates the need for a heart/lung machine and doesn't require stopping the patient's heart. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposes strict requirements for hospitals wishing to practice TAVR, including successfully completing a certain number of open heart, surgical aortic valve, catheter, and percutaneous coronary interventions per year. 

“The addition of structural heart services like TAVR to our existing cardiac program will allow residents of Southwest Virginia to seek alternative treatment for aortic stenosis without traveling far from home,” said Michele Gillespie, LewisGale Medical Center vice president of cardiovascular Service Line. 

In addition to TAVR, LewisGale Medical Center offers a variety of services for the care and treatment of structural heart disease including surgical valve replacement (SAVR) and repair of patent foramen ovale (PFO). For additional information about LewisGale Medical Center’s Structural Heart Program, contact Heather Snyder, Structural Heart Navigator, at (540) 581-2477.  

About LewisGale Regional Health System

LewisGale Regional Health System includes 44 HCA Virginia Health System-owned patient care facilities including four hospitals, one freestanding ER, two regional cancer centers and affiliations with both employed and independent physicians. HCA Virginia Health System operates 14 hospitals, 27 outpatient centers, five freestanding emergency rooms and is affiliated with 3,000 physicians. The private hospital system is one of Virginia’s largest employers, provides $105.7 million in charity and uncompensated care, and pays $88.9 million in taxes annually. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.