Memorial Health System Opens Transcatheter Valve Replacement Clinic

Memorial Health System today announced the opening of its Transcatheter Valve Replacement (TAVR) program at Memorial Hospital Gulfport. Last week, the structural heart team at Memorial Hospital Gulfport successfully performed its first two TAVR procedures.

Aortic stenosis is a progressive disease that will worsen over time, and the symptoms are often mistaken as normal signs of aging, including shortness of breath, difficulty walking, rapid heartbeat, swollen ankles and feet, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and fainting. Approximately 2.5 million Americans over 75 years of age are affected by aortic stenosis.

Today, patients who have severe aortic stenosis and are experiencing symptoms have two options to replace their aortic valve: TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) or open-heart surgery (also known as surgical aortic valve replacement or SAVR). TAVR is a less invasive procedure that doesn't require open heart surgery. The most common technique involves inserting a tiny needle in the blood vessels in the leg, advancing a catheter (hollow plastic tube) through these blood vessels to replace your diseased valve while your heart is still beating.

“Memorial is proud to offer the TAVR procedure to our community. This is the modern, contemporary approach to treating patients with severe aortic stenosis. It bypasses the need for open heart surgery, patients do not have to be placed on a heart-lung machine and do not need a prolonged hospitalization, lengthy ICU stay, or extended recovery. In fact, a vast majority of the patients will go home the very next day,” said Memorial Health System Cardiologist Dr. Umair Malik. “Before this, our patients had to go to other states for this procedure and would have to travel several hours for multiple appointments before getting the procedure done. Now, they can receive this state-of-the-art procedure close to home.”

TAVR is the definitive treatment for patients with aortic stenosis who have symptoms. It not only alleviates symptoms but also lengthens the patient’s lifespan. Relative to the more conventional surgical approach, TAVR is a less invasive procedure, involves much shorter recovery time to getting back to everyday activities, and needs shorter hospital stay.