By Charles Rankin
USA TODAY NETWORK
A new heart procedure has arrived in Salina after a collaboration between Salina Regional Health Center and Mowery Clinic. The transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) surgery was performed on Tuesday, January 26th, at Salina Regional. Dr. David Battin, cardiologist at Mowery, said aortic valve disease is fairly common in older people, and this new way to replace it will benefit the community and the region. “Traditionally, when the valve goes out and needs fixed… it (was) a major operation which involves an incision down the sternum,” Battin said. “It results in a seven- to- 10-day hospitalization.” Battin said the hospitalization could be longer depending on the patient and usually it results in rehabilitation afterwards, as well.
This procedure involves going in to replace the aortic valve through an artery and is minimally invasive. “Usually we go through the leg artery,” Battin said. “Recovery times are much faster. You’re talking about a day hospital stay or maybe two at the most.” The TAVR procedure has similar results to a traditional valve replacement, making it a much better option for most. Battin said this isn’t a new procedure in the world of cardiology, having been in the academic and research hospital facilities for years. “They have kind of moved through the different populations for the last 10 to 15 years, as far as doing only extreme-risk individuals to high-risk individuals and to moderate-risk individuals,” Battin said. He said now that it has made its way to low-risk individuals, that opens it to everybody, which is why it has come to Salina.
Patients in Salina and the community have been going to the larger facilities to have this procedure done, because Battin said virtually all of them have been a candidate. “The benefit to the community is they don’t have to drive three hours to Kansas City, an hour and a half to Wichita, Lincoln or Omaha,” Battin said. He said some people in north-central Kansas are already driving an hour to get to Salina to meet with their doctor, and many older people don’t like to get into “the city,” so this is a benefit to the region as a whole, as well, reducing travel times and the distance from home. “This is the next logical step for (us) here in Salina,” Battin said. “It’s something we’ve had our eye on for three years as far as wanting to participate.” Now that a larger group of people in the area qualify and since the procedure has stuck in the field, the timing is right.
“From the get-go, it looked like this therapy would supplant traditional surgery for the valve replacement,” Battin said. A lot of the work to do this procedure is familiar to the cardiological field as going in through arteries to do other procedures. “In a lot of ways, it’s an extension of what we already do,” Battin said. Battin and Richard Toon, a cardiothoracic surgeon, are familiar with procedures like ballooning blockages and placing stints through arteries. “It’s a matter of translating that into the left ventricle vein and the aorta,” Battin said. After the first procedure was completed Tuesday, Battin was happy with the results. “I thought it went as well as could be expected,” Battin said. “I’m happy with how the day went. It’s a nice start to a successful program.” Though the first TAVR happened Tuesday, plans are moving forward to continue to do more. “The program’s already started taking referrals, going through the process, and we’re underway,” Battin said.
For more information or to schedule a consult for TAVR, ask your primary care physician to refer you to the Valve Clinic. The Valve Clinic can assist and help determine if TAVR procedure is right for you. For more information or to request a consult, please call the Valve Clinic at (785) 452-6772.