Emory Heart & Vascular Celebrates Milestone with 5,000th TAVR Procedure

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Photo courtesy of Emory

Emory Heart & Vascular marked a historic achievement with the completion of its 5,000th Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure at the end of last year. Pioneering minimally invasive procedures is ingrained in Emory’s ethos, being the first site in Georgia and among the earliest in the nation to perform TAVR back in 2007.

TAVR has transformed the landscape of aortic valve disease treatment, allowing cardiologists to replace a patient’s compromised aortic valve with a prosthetic valve via a catheter. Initially reserved for high-risk patients deemed unfit for open-heart surgery, TAVR has evolved into a safer and less invasive option for many low and medium-risk patients, as affirmed by Vasilis Babaliaros, MD, founder and co-director of the Emory Structural Heart & Valve Center.

Babaliaros, who trained under the pioneering Alain Cribier, MD, the inventor of the transcatheter heart valve, witnessed the groundbreaking procedure’s inception in 2002. Inspired by this innovation, Babaliaros spearheaded Emory’s involvement in the first U.S. clinical trials for TAVR, underscoring the institution’s commitment to advancing cardiovascular care.

The success of TAVR hinges on technological advancements and multidisciplinary collaboration. Emory’s adoption of computed tomography (CT) imaging in 2016 enhanced procedural precision, while continuous refinement of replacement valves ensures improved outcomes. Moreover, Emory’s holistic approach to valve care, treating all cardiac valves comprehensively, has contributed to its success.

Emory’s dedication to innovation extends beyond TAVR, with ongoing efforts to expand transcatheter treatment options for diverse patient populations. Collaborations with institutions like the National Institutes of Health have led to pioneering techniques such as catheter electrosurgery, broadening treatment avenues for previously underserved patients.

As a new generation of cardiologists emerges, the focus shifts towards addressing future challenges and advancements in TAVR technology. With Emory at the forefront, the journey towards enhancing patient care continues, driven by a legacy of innovation and excellence.