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Geisinger Medical Center performs 1,000th TAVR procedure

PHOTO PROVIDED The structural heart disease team at Geisinger Medical Center recently performed its 1,000th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Pictured, from left, are Shikhar Agarwal, M.D., Tara Ricci, R.N., operations manager, Thomas Scott, D.O., Emily Donovan, cardiac catheterization structural technologist, Taylor Megargel, nurse navigator, Michael Bresticker, M.D., Geisinger central region Cardiac Surgery division chief, Joyce Burnside, M.D., Michael Friscia, M.D., John Conte, M.D., Geisinger Cardiac Surgery chair, Chrysta Murdock, operations director, Heather Zimmerman, cardiac catheterization structural technologist, and Elizabeth Truxall, cardiac catheterization structural technologist.

DANVILLE — Geisinger Medical Center’s (GMC) structural heart disease team recently performed its 1,000th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) at the hospital.

TAVR is a less-invasive approach to treating diseased and narrowed aortic valves (aortic stenosis). Physicians can replace a diseased valve without performing open-heart surgery. Instead, they insert a small, thin tube (catheter) into an artery in the groin and feed a new, collapsed valve to the heart where it is deployed to regulate blood flow.

Unlike traditional heart valve surgery, known as surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR), TAVR requires only a small puncture and allows for quicker recovery and shorter hospital stays.

“We developed the first program in the region to offer TAVR, and we’ve been performing the procedure longer than any other health system in northeastern and central Pennsylvania,” said Shikhar Agarwal, M.D., interventional cardiologist at GMC. “Performing 1,000 procedures is an achievement that displays our deep experience and specialized expertise. We’re making better health easier by treating a wide range of patients with aortic stenosis and getting them back to their active lifestyles quickly.”

Geisinger began offering TAVR in 2011 when the procedure was approved for patients in need of valve replacement but at high risk for complication with SAVR. Since then, the treatment has been approved for patients at moderate and low risk, and the TAVR program has grown to care for patients at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre and Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton.

Patients with valve disease are evaluated by Geisinger’s heart valve team to determine the best therapy for each patient. For many patients, including those who have more than one damaged valve or coronary artery disease, SAVR is still the most appropriate and safest treatment. But TAVR is now a proven option, producing positive health outcomes in patients of all risk levels with the added benefits of faster healing and discharge processes.

“Reaching this milestone is a testament to the proficiency our team has built over the last 11 years and the trust we’ve earned in the communities we serve,” said Dr. Agarwal. “I’m grateful for the hard work and compassionate care of every member of the structural heart disease team, past and present, whose dedication and service to our patients has led this program to where it is today.”

About Geisinger

Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a Research Institute and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at geisinger.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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