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100th TAVR Performed at Thomas Hospital

100th TAVR Performed at Thomas Hospital


Recently, Dr. Stan Thornton with Cardiology Associates in Fairhope, assisted by Dr. Trey Pluscht with Cardio-Thoracic & Vascular Surgical Associates, performed the 100th TAVR procedure at Thomas Hospital. Dr. Thornton is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and Fellow of the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions and is dedicated to creating access to state-of-the-art cardiology care to our community. He is credited with bringing TAVR to our community. 


If you have a heart murmur and chest pain, feel faint or dizzy, have shortness of breath and excess fatigue when active, you may be suffering from aortic valve stenosis, a progressive narrowing of the aortic valve, which is the opening through which blood leaves the heart to supply the organs with oxygenated blood. The valve doesn't fully open, which blocks blood flow from the heart. This increases the cardiac workload and decreases the ability of one’s heart to maintain cardiac output during times of exertion. Aortic stenosis becomes more common with age. When asked about prevention, Dr. Thornton says that unfortunately there’s not really anything at this time to prevent the cause, unlike other heart issues which can be affected by diet and exercise. Younger patients commonly have a history of chest radiation, rheumatic fever, or a congenitally bicuspid aortic valve. 


Traditionally open-heart surgery to replace the faulty valve is required to fix this issue; however, TAVR is an option that is minimally invasive and has little downtime. A new heart valve, handmade from the tissue from a cow’s heart, is placed through a catheter and guided to the aortic valve through a main artery such as the femoral artery via the groin. Once in place, the collapsed valve is placed inside the old valve and expanded in the patient’s own aortic valve. These valves are very strong, durable and safe. Interestingly, should a patient every need another one, the same procedure is done replacing the TAVR with a new one. Once in place, the valve begins working and most patients experience immediate relief. Dr. Thornton specializes in this procedure and performs it right here at Thomas Hospital. 


Learn first-hand about the TAVR procedure from Thomas Hospital’s first TAVR patient by clicking on this link:


If you’re questioning whether TAVR is right for you, call Cardiology Associates, located on the campus of Thomas Hospital at 251-990-9500.

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