The Catalyst Issue 21 | May 2015 - Page 20

INNOVATION | to heal patients and give them hope which is the heart surgeons and cardiologists working together with the ultimate goal of enhancing the quality of life of the patient,” says Dr. SaiSudhakar. Beyond collaboration and benefiting patients, TAVR advances the knowledge that specialists glean from one another. Dr. Lawrence says, “It has really improved communication and understanding of what each subspecialty does.” Back to health Patient James Sharp Sr., is surrounded by his team of caregivers. Back row (left to right): Cardiovascular technician Edward Provasek, Dr. Timothy Mixon, Dr. Mark Lawrence, and Director of the Division of Cardiology Dr. Gregory Dehmer. Middle row (left to right): Nurse Clinician Terry Patrick, Dr. Subbareddy Konda and Director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery Dr. Chittoor Bhaskar Sai-Sudhakar. procedure because of Mr. Sharp’s compromised lungs. The team carefully planned the procedure, and their expert work during it saw him through. “The valve was functioning immediately after we placed it,” says Dr. Lawrence. A heart team in place During the TAVR procedure a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery near the groin. The catheter threads a synthetic valve about the same diameter as a pencil through the artery until it reaches the weakened aortic valve. A balloon is inflated to expand the replacement valve, the catheter is removed, and the new valve begins to function. The weakened valve remains in place. The procedure lasted about 90 20 THE CATALYST May 15 | minutes, and Mr. Sharp spent a week in the hospital recovering—much less time than if he had undergone open heart surgery. “It was a very simple procedure, and I don’t believe anyone should be scared of it,” says his son, Roy Sharp, who lives next door to his dad. The TAVR procedure requires close collaboration among the heart specialists at Scott & White Memorial Hospital, including cardiologists (some of whom have interventional expertise), and cardiothoracic surgeons. Also, imaging specialists in areas of echocardiography and computerized tomography (CT) assist in planning the catheter-based procedure. “This is a new paradigm. It brings up the concept of the ‘heart team,’ The fact that 100 TAVR patients have been treated within two and a-half years of introducing the procedure proves there is a demand for it in Central Texas. Dr. Mixon says, “Scott & White in Temple is on pace to perform 50 such procedures a year, which would put it on par with busy TAVR centers across the country.” Dr. Lawrence reports that Mr. Sharp is doing well. “What amazes me when I see these people at their follow-up visit and listen to their heart, is that the murmur is gone,” he says. Mr. Sharp feels better, too. “I did pretty good,” he says. “They took care of me all right.” Roy Sharp is pleased that his father’s doing so well. “He’s doing fine now. He’s got color again,” he says. “My father is back to riding three miles a day on his stationary exercise bike and is driving again, though only during the daytime. He’s just as ornery as he was before,” he says. “Hopefully by this spring he’ll be back on the riding lawn mower.” n