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2012 Press Releases
FDA Approval of Transapical Approach Offers Patients with Severe Aortic Stenosis a New Surgical Option
10/22/2012
More Patients Now Will Be Eligible for TAVR Procedure.

CLEARWATER, Fla., (Oct. 19, 2012) - Morton Plant Hospital is the first hospital in the Tampa Bay area to perform Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) by the transapical approach. Transapical TAVR is the latest FDA-approved treatment for people suffering from severe aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart, which causes the valve to fail to open and close properly. Morton Plant has successfully performed three transapical cases.

In TAVR, a replacement valve is inserted into the femoral artery through a small incision in the groin and is then guided into the heart. Earlier this year, Morton Plant Hospital was the first hospital in the Tampa Bay area to offer TAVR for individuals previously considered inoperable.

“In the past, patients have been denied TAVR surgery if they have small blood vessels because we weren’t able to access the aortic valve from their femoral artery,” said John Ofenloch, MD, a cardiovascular surgeon and a member of the Morton Plant Hospital Valve Clinic team. “Now, the transapical approach offers a new way to replace the valve and, ideally, to help improve the quality of life for many more of these patients.”

During the transapical approach, a small incision is made between the ribs of the left lower chest. The replacement valve is then inserted directly into the heart and across the diseased aortic valve.

“The transapical approach allows for the shortest and most direct route to the diseased aortic valve,” said Douglas Spriggs, MD, an interventional cardiologist and a member of the Morton Plant Hospital Valve Clinic team. “This allows for a faster procedure and a short recovery time than standard aortic valve replacement, especially in this patient population.”

“In addition to approving the transapical approach, the FDA has also approved the use of TAVR for high risk patients” said Joshua Rovin, MD, a cardiovascular surgeon and member of the Morton Plant Valve Clinic team. “The FDA approval of TAVR for high-risk patients means we can now provide TAVR to patients who previously were not candidates for the procedure.”

Since it began offering TAVR procedures in February, Morton Plant has experienced excellent patient outcomes and has completed 45 TAVR procedures, the most in the Tampa Bay area. The Morton Plant TAVR team is focused on working together to determine the best medical or surgical options for each patient.

“The distinction between surgical and non-surgical patients involves careful evaluation and difficult decision-making that must be performed by an experienced multidisciplinary heart team” said Lang Lin, MD, an interventional cardiologist and a member of the Morton Plant Hospital Valve Clinic team.

Morton Plant’s TAVR program is currently evaluating patients with severe aortic stenosis for consideration of medical, surgical, and transcatheter approaches for therapy. The Morton Plant Hospital Valve Clinic Team has seen and evaluated well over 100 patients. The team includes: Michael Barry, MD; Gregory Girgenti, MD; Todd Kovach, MD; Lang Lin, MD; John Ofenloch, MD; Joshua Rovin, MD; and Douglas Spriggs, MD.

Patients receiving the TAVR procedure are first seen at Morton Plant Hospital’s Valve Clinic. Believed to be the first in the region to offer a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, collaborative approach, the Morton Plant Hospital Valve Clinic specializes in the treatment of complex heart valve disorders. The team uses a “share care” philosophy, working closely with a patient's personal physicians in clinical decision-making and treatment of patients. The “share care” approach helps ensure a smooth transition for the patient back to their personal physicians after their visit and treatment at the Valve Clinic.

About TAVR

Morton Plant Hospital continues its legacy as a leader in heart care by performing the first transcatheter aortic valve replacement surgery (TAVR) in the Tampa Bay area. A treatment for severe aortic stenosis, the TAVR procedure is used for patients who were previously considered inoperable. The first two TAVR procedures were performed at Morton Plant Hospital on February 2, 2012.

For the TAVR and other specialized heart procedures, Morton Plant constructed a new hybrid operative suite, along with opening a Valve Clinic for the treatment of complex heart valve disorders such as aortic stenosis. Patients receive their surgery and recover in Morton Plant’s Morgan Heart Hospital.

The TAVR procedure is performed by a board-certified, multidisciplinary team of interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, and cardiac anesthesiologists.

Morton Plant Hospital is one of a select number of hospitals across the country designated to perform the new TAVR procedure. For more information about the Morton Plant Hospital’s Valve Clinic, call (855) 448-2583 or log onto www.MPMHealth.com/ValveClinic.

About Aortic Stenosis
Aortic stenosis is a disease process that affects the aortic valve. In late stages of the disease, the valve does not open and close properly. This causes the heart to work harder to push blood through the calcified aortic valve and eventually the heart’s muscles weaken, increasing the patient’s risk of heart failure.

About Morton Plant Hospital
Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility that has built a national reputation for heart care. For three years, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) has awarded Morton Plant Hospital's heart surgery program its prestigious overall three-star rating, the highest designation given to hospitals by STS.

Morton Plant is one of only approximately 13 percent of more than 1,000 hospitals with a cardiac surgery program to receive a three-star rating. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas Street, Clearwater, Fla.

About BayCare Health System
BayCare Health System is a leading community-based health system in the Tampa Bay area. Composed of a network of 10 not-for-profit hospitals, outpatient facilities and services such as imaging, lab, behavioral health and home health care, BayCare provides expert medical care throughout a patient’s lifetime. With more than 200 access points conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay, BayCare connects patients to a complete range of preventive, diagnostic and treatment services for any health care need.

BayCare’s family of hospitals are: Mease Countryside, Mease Dunedin, Morton Plant, Morton Plant North Bay, St. Anthony’s, St. Joseph’s, St. Joseph’s Children’s, St. Joseph’s Hospital-North, St. Joseph’s Women’s, and South Florida Baptist. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at www.BayCare.org.

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