Hospital offers less
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Hospital offers less

Dec 12, 2023

The Interventional Cardiac Services team at Ellis Medicine has achieved a significant milestone, having recently completed its 500th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure.

The groundbreaking technique, also known as TAVR, utilizes a catheter inserted through the groin to replace a damaged heart valve, offering high-risk patients a new lease on life without the need for open-heart surgery.

Not only does the innovative procedure provide a less-invasive alternative, but it also significantly reduces a patient's length of stay to one day from two to three days.

With a high number of older adults in Schenectady County and the Capital Region suffering from cardiovascular disease, the Ellis TAVR program has become a vital service. The rise in technology has made it possible to assist and help elderly individuals who were once considered high-risk candidates for open-heart surgery due to their age.

Previously, many of the patients were denied treatment, but the TAVR procedure has changed the landscape of cardiac care.

Joann Paulsen, a patient who recently underwent the TAVR procedure, shared her experience. She initially underwent emergency surgery in March after visiting a cardiologist for a routine checkup. During her hospital stay, doctors discovered her arterial valve was damaged and needed to be replaced.

Paulsen expressed her gratitude to Dr. Aakash Garg, a structural and interventional cardiologist at Ellis Medicine, for saving her life. She credits the TAVR procedure for making her feel like a new person and allowing her to continue caring for her husband of 50 years, who has diabetes.

Garg explains that the TAVR procedure is not only minimally invasive, but also carries lower risks compared to traditional open-heart surgery. This makes it an ideal option for elderly patients or those at high risk for surgery.

Most patients are able to return home the day after the procedure, a remarkable improvement in recovery time.

Garg emphasizes the importance of early recognition of severe aortic stenosis, the condition that often necessitates a TAVR procedure, to prevent irreversible cardiac damage. Regular check-ups and close monitoring are crucial for identifying symptoms and addressing the issue before heart failure symptoms develop.

The Ellis TAVR program's milestone achievement highlights the significant impact it has had on the community. By providing a less-invasive and faster recovery option for high-risk patients, Ellis Medicine is revolutionizing heart valve replacement.