Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, has expanded its extensive cardiovascular program with an advanced, less-invasive surgical procedure to repair damaged aortic valves – known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
The procedure is indicated for older people with severe aortic stenosis, a potentially fatal condition in which the opening of the aortic heart valve narrows, blocking the flow of blood to the body.
JCMC joins three other RWJBH facilities in performing TAVR and represents the highest volume system in the state.
The surgery allows physicians performing the TAVR procedure to guide a replacement valve through a catheter into the patient’s heart via the groin without an incision. ‘The physician performs the procedure while the heart is still beating, using X-ray and echocardiography images projected on a computer screen as a guide. Traditional aortic valve replacement requires open-heart surgery, which involves stopping the patient’s heart and placing them on an artificial heart-lung machine. At the same time, the physician cuts through their breastbone to gain access to the heart.
“The advantage of the TAVR procedure is that patients can go home sooner and return to normal life within days, not months,” said losif Gulkarov, MD, board-certified Associate Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Jersey City Medical Center and a member of RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group. “There’s less morbidity with the TAVR procedure and less pain because you don’t have to open the patient’s chest.”
Compared with open-heart surgery, patients who undergo TAVR spend less time in the hospital and recover more quickly and get back to their everyday activities. Often, the times vary from one to three days.
“For most people with severe aortic stenosis, if you don’t fix the valve, their lifespan may be shortened,” said Michael Benz, MD, board-certified Interventional Cardiologist and Director of TAVR and Structural Heart Program at the Jersey City Medical Center. “Until recently, we had no option in Hudson County to help people who were too ill to undergo open-heart surgery. With TAVR, we now have an opportunity to help these patients live longer and have a better quality of life right here in Jersey City, close to their home.”
Jersey City Medical Center remains committed to Healing, Enhancing, and Investing in Hudson County. To find a cardiac surgeon or more information about the TAVR procedure and our cardiology and cardiac surgery services, please visit www.rwjbh.org/tavr or call 1-866-526-8258.