Daily Times Leader

Baptist Golden Triangle now offering minimally invasive aortic heart valve replacemen­t


COLUMBUS – Baptist interventi­onal cardiologi­st Dr. Eric McClendon and cardiothor­acic surgeon Dr. Stewart Horsley recently performed the Golden Triangle’s first Transcathe­ter Aortic Valve Replacemen­t procedure at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle.

Offering advanced structural heart repair procedures such as TAVR in Columbus means that local residents no longer have to travel to a larger hospital to have their faulty aortic heart valve replaced.

McClendon said he and Horsley have performed the TAVR procedure hundreds of times in their careers and they are excited to bring the technology to Columbus.

The minimally invasive procedure involves delivering a new aortic valve to the heart through either a thin wire or tube that is inserted into the body through the femoral artery in the groin or into the large artery in the chest through a small incision. The new aortic valve is inserted without removing the old diseased valve. Once the new valve expands, it pushes the old valve out of the way and takes over the job of managing blood flow.

“Before the TAVR procedure, aortic valve replacemen­t usually involved openheart surgery and a five to six-day hospital stay, chest tubes, lots of pain and an extensive recovery period,” McClendon said.

With the TAVR procedure, the patient is usually out of bed within four hours and normally has a one to two-night hospital stay he said, adding most people go home the next day. Like most patients who undergo some type of cardiac event, TAVR patients do require cardiac rehabilita­tion, McClendon said. Baptist Golden Triangle offers a certified cardiac rehabilita­tion department.

Most people require the TAVR proce

Dr. Eric McClendon, interventi­onal cardiologi­st, and Amanda Edwards, RN, structural heart valve coordinato­r, talk with Ray Pinnix of Maben at a postsurgic­al clinic visit on May 27. McClendon and cardiothor­acic surgeon Dr. Stewart Horsley performed the Golden Triangle region’s first transcathe­ter aortic valve replacemen­t (TAVR) procedure on Pinnix at Baptist Golden Triangle on May 17. (Submitted photo)

dure after their aortic valve becomes stiff in a condition known as aortic stenosis. The valve controls the blood flow from the heart to the body. The stenosis causes the heart to work too hard, which can lead to chest pain, shortness of breath and eventually heart failure. Age is the biggest contributi­ng factor to the condition, McClendon said.

“The most common cause is age-related, and unfortunat­ely there is not much anybody can substantia­lly do to prevent it,” he added.

Still, McClendon said, not everyone is a candidate. Some patients may still need the surgical option if, for example, they have some other cardiac problem like a

blocked artery or a second valve problem that needs to be addressed surgically. And, he added, some people’s anatomy is not conducive to the TAVR procedure, requiring the open-heart surgery option, he explained.

At Baptist Golden Triangle, a heart team will evaluate each TAVR patient to determine the best course of treatment.

The procedure will be performed in the hospital’s $2 million Hybrid operating room which opened in 2019.

“Very often, patient care involves multiple physicians and specialtie­s working together. At Baptist Golden Triangle, we have put together a team of cardiovasc­ular physicians and surgeons working together to come up with a treatment plan,” McClendon explained.

The team consists of Dr. Julius Kato, a general invasive cardiologi­st; Dr. Richard Eubanks, a cardiothor­acic surgeon; Horsley and McClendon. Both McClendon and one of the cardiovasc­ular surgeons perform each TAVR procedure.

“Having a TAVR program brings another advanced cardiac procedure to our hospital and its patients. It can also allow us to add other catheter-based procedures in the future. For our patients, it also means they can have a procedure that makes them feel dramatical­ly better and at home in a day or two, instead of a week, and with less pain. Now they also don’t have to travel three or six hours to have the procedure done at another hospital or in another state,” McClendon added.

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