In a few short months, the Pauley Heart Center has become Central Virginia’s leader for performing Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacements, a procedure in which aortic valves are replaced via catheter instead of open heart surgery.
“We did the first one on November 1. Since then, we have performed about 13 or 14,” said Dr. Zachary Gertz, Pauley’s director of structural heart disease, who participated in the first study of TAVR during his cardiology fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and is nationally recognized for his expertise in aortic stenosis and valvular heart disease.
TAVR holds special appeal for elderly and high-risk patients who suffer from severe aortic stenosis, a condition which, if left untreated, can lead to heart failure or even death.
“It is important to offer this therapy because many patients are not candidates for surgery, so this is their only hope. And for some patients who are high risk for surgery, this offers them an alternative with equally good outcomes but a much easier recovery,” said Dr. Gertz.