Phoenix hospital becomes state’s 1st to use new heart valve replacement system

Jun 7, 2024, 10:32 AM

PHOENIX — Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital in Phoenix became the first health center in the state to use a new device that serves as an alternative to open-heart surgery this week.

Cardiologist Timothy Byrne led the hospital team as they used it on a patient, according to a Wednesday news release from the health care company.

The new device is a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) system. The complex name matches the complex way it works.

The recent surgery makes Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital the first in the Arizona-New Mexico region to offer patients treatment with the new TAVR system.

How does the TAVR system help patients with heart issues?

Essentially, the TAVR system helps people with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis. That’s when a patient’s aortic heart valve doesn’t open and close properly. This makes their hearts work harder to pump blood to the rest of their bodies.

It’s catastrophic to a patient’s health. In fact, 50% of patients who don’t seek treatment for this issue can die from heart failure in as little as two years.

Normally, patients with this issue require an aortic valve replacement. It’s a major operation in which surgeons replace a damaged or faulty valve with a new one. Usually this operation takes a few hours.

Performing an aortic valve replacement with the TAVR system is far less invasive. The medical team will implant a replacement valve through a small incision. This way, they don’t have to surgically open a patient’s chest.

Not only that, but it’s also much faster than traditional open heart surgery. It takes around an hour, according to Abrazo Health.

Byrne said the medical device is a valuable addition to a medical worker’s toolbox.

“We are proud to provide a new option to treat patients with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis here in Arizona,” Byrne said in the Wednesday news release.

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Phoenix hospital becomes state’s 1st to use new heart valve replacement system