Your Top 5 Questions about TAVR Answered
Your heart is the muscle in charge of pumping blood to your entire body. This vital organ is made up of chambers, valves and blood vessels. Your heart valves work similarly to a one-way door: they open and close, controlling blood flow in the correct direction through the heart chambers. For patients who have been diagnosed with a heart-related condition like aortic valve stenosis (narrowing), it is important to know treatment options. Most might think open-heart surgery is the only way to treat a heart valve, but many hospitals, including Renown, also offer a minimally invasive procedure called a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR). Dr. Abhilash Akinapelli of Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health shares his answers to the top five TAVR questions: 1. What causes aortic valve stenosis? Aortic valve stenosis can be caused by a variety of factors. The main reasons being wear and tear of the valve due to aging; genetically abnormal heart valve (bicuspid aortic valve); long-standing high blood pressure; and other reasons like radiation exposure. 2. Am I a candidate for TAVR? Renown’s heart care teams are made up of your primary care provider, cardiologist and cardio thoracic surgeon. They will evaluate if patients are a good candidate for the TAVR procedure by performing a variety of screenings and tests. Some of these include: Echocardiogram Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) Chest X-ray Exercise tests or stress tests Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan Cardiac catheterization 3. What are the advantages of the TAVR procedure? The Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure is much less invasive than open heart surgery, otherwise known as a Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (SAVR). Patients can typically return to their normal lifestyles within a week after leaving the hospital. During the TAVR procedure, a stent valve mounted on a balloon is advanced to the heart through the blood vessels in the groin without any incision. Once in position, the balloon will be inflated to firmly expand the new valve inside the diseased old valve, pushing it away to the sides. Once the new valve is in place, it begins working immediately and the deflated balloon is removed. The surgical procedure is approximately one hour long. Patients can get up and walk after four hours and will be discharged the following day if no complications arise. Compared to a SAVR, recovery time is much shorter and less risky for patients above the age of 75. A big advantage for anyone who fits under the criteria for a TAVR. 4. Is the procedure painful? The TAVR procedure is not surgery, but you will still be asleep during the procedure. Since no incision is made, it is essentially a painless procedure. Patients may experience slight discomfort such as aches and pains at the entry site of the catheter. 5. Can I have an MRI and X-rays done after having a TAVR valve? Yes, patients can have MRI scans and X-rays after TAVR. For further questions and information about the TAVR procedure, please consult with your Renown heart care team at 775-982-2452 or through MyChart.
Departamento destacado: Surgical Preadmission
Heading into surgery of any kind can bring along feelings of intimidation. With a best-in-class surgery team at Renown Health, patients rest assured that they are in the most capable hands for their entire procedure from start to finish – and while the physical preparation is vital, mental and emotional preparation is equally as important to ensure each patient has a smooth and comfortable experience. The Surgical Preadmission department (a.k.a. “preadmit”) at Renown Regional Medical Center and Renown South Meadows Medical Center is a dynamic and compassionate group of nurses, case managers, chart managers and more who are dedicated to guiding each patient through the surgical process. With extensive knowledge and expertise under their belt, the teams are equipped to make a genuine difference in the health and well-being of all patients, for all surgeries, at all times of the year. Surgery Starting Ground The Surgical Preadmission teams are crucial aspects in the successful outcome of every surgical procedure. Comprised of skilled healthcare professionals, this department is dedicated to providing comprehensive support and care before heading into the pre-operating room. “Our job is to prepare every patient for surgery, make sure all their pre-surgery testing is done, ensure they understand their fasting and medication instructions, have had their questions answered, have a ride home and know what to expect during surgery and after so their recovery can go smoothly and without complications,” said Debra Bennett, RN, Supervisor of Surgical Preadmission at Renown Regional. “Each patient is unique, so each experience is different.” Our preadmit nurses are the masters of communication, directing thorough assessments – including medications, tests and clearances – and addressing any questions or concerns patients may have, never missing the opportunity to inform them of exactly what they will expect in surgery. “I do a complete history on every patient while giving them detailed pre-operating instructions and helping them answer any questions to the best of my ability,” said Nancy Hilts, Surgical Preadmission RN at Renown Regional. “I am proud to be able to help allay their fears and concerns using my 30 years of pre-op experience. I offer an avenue for them to feel comfortable opening up to me.” “We always tell patients that they have great surgeons and a fantastic team that will be watching over them and taking care of them every step of the way,” added Jon Capallupo, Surgical Preadmission RN at Renown South Meadows. “We also give them plenty of educational handouts and video content, in addition to verbal instruction, to ensure they are as prepared as possible.” The nurses then pass the reigns onto the chart managers, who prepare the charts for surgery and ensure all documentation is up-to-date before sending them to the pre-operative team. The expert surgical case managers also step in to prepare a thorough discharge plan, along with reviewing pre-operation orders for status, consent, codes and more. The team does several of these initial visits virtually, and they are looking forward to soon phasing all preadmit case manager preliminary visits into a virtual model. From assisting the pre-op and post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) teams with discharge planning concerns to helping on the outpatient side with anything from oxygen equipment and catheters to transportation issues and those experiencing homelessness, our pre-admit case managers are always up to the challenge. "We are true patient advocates, alleviating concerns and fears along the way,” said Mary Carl, RN, Case Manager at Renown Regional. “Just to name a few things we do on a daily basis, we see our total joint and non-weight bearing patients during their preadmission appointment, so they are aware of the medical equipment they need and if it is covered by insurance; provide education for Aspira catheters and gastrostomy tubes; advocate to ensure tube feeding and dressing changes are set up for hospice and home health patients; and escalate concerns of patient safety to ensure a safe discharge.” In the midst of it all, there is never a dull moment in the preadmit teams. At Renown Regional alone, the preadmit professionals see more than 1,600 patients a month – and each one has a hyper-personalized experience with their very own preadmit team. “Many times, we are the first impression a patient has on our organization; after all, we touch more than 97 percent of patients that are scheduled for surgery, cardiac catheterization lab procedures or interventional radiology,” said Amy Schler, Surgical Preadmission RN at Renown Regional. “We also collaborate with many other departments in the hospital as well, from surgeons and anesthesiologists to case managers and nurse navigators. Our work in preadmit impacts the entire surgical process.” Holding a diverse array of experiences, our preadmit department plays an integral role in our commitment to providing the highest quality of care to every patient. Knowledge is Power Heading into surgery feeling fearful and worried is normal for any patient. However, how would you feel knowing that each individual member on your preadmit team has, on average, 23-25 years of experience in the field? This is the reality for our Surgical Preadmission department – and they put that vast knowledge to great use to bring a sense of calm to patients. “Our team members have worked in various departments within our organization, and they bring a wealth of knowledge that we share with each other, and most importantly, with our patients,” said Amy Schler, RN. “If you have hundreds of years of nursing experience, you can speak not only as a nurse but also as a patient. It allows you to give a more personal perspective on what patients can expect in their recovery. Being able to assess their emotions and provide feedback to our pre-op and PACU teams help the patient have a better experience.” “Many of our nurses have close to 40 years of experience each, and they have an extremely large knowledge base since we see patients from newborn to geriatric and from easy procedures to complex surgeries,” added Debra Bennett, RN. “Another great aspect of our team is the varied nursing backgrounds we all hold – surgery, pre- and post-op, labor and delivery, pediatric intensive care, cardiology, gastroenterology, urology, cardiac cath lab, home health and everything in between. Communication between departments is so important!” All members in this department, regardless of which clinical area they came from, surgical or non-surgical, can easily translate their skills into the work they do in preadmit – and they only continue to grow. “As a surgical preadmission nurse, I have used my years of experience as a nurse in surgical services,” said Terri Delatorre, Surgical Preadmission RN at Renown Regional. “I started as a floor nurse with orthopedics for 12 years, and then I worked with the PACU for 11 years. This has helped me give great understanding and care to our surgical patients.” “Because we have staff with such a vast knowledge base, we can rely on our years of working within our organization to help alleviate fears that the patient may have,” added Amy Schler, RN. We can prepare them for what to expect in pre-op and PACU and educate them on what to expect post-op, including any barriers they may face. For example, mastectomy patients may not realize they will not be able to raise their arms for 7-10 days post-op, and total knee patients have to navigate stairs and housing access. Helping patients think about barriers at home that they may not have thought about helps them prepare prior to surgery, enhances their healing and provides a better surgical experience.” The preadmit team works closely with our best-in-class surgeons and anesthesiologists, continuing to grow their expertise along the way while learning alongside our talented providers. For instance, when it comes to our Renown South Meadows preadmit department, anesthesiologist Nariman Rahimzadeh, MD provides excellent guidance for the entire team on state-of-the-art anesthesiology practices. “I am very proud of the work we do with Dr. Rahimzadeh,” said Lisa Closson, Surgical Preadmission RN at Renown South Meadows. “Together, we ensure patients are safe for both surgery and anesthesia.” Despite the challenges that come their way – whether it be changes to process and workflow to navigating support for patients after they leave the surgery floor – the preadmit team cleverly uses their collective wealth of knowledge to bring hope and comfort to all patients. “Our nurses are such warm, caring and compassionate humans that do their best to ease any fears and anxieties patients may have,” said Debra Bennett, RN. The Pride of Preadmission The pride of our preadmit team lies in their ability to make a positive impact on all patients they serve. To them, their work is not just a job – it's a calling. And they do it all while working together to elevate their team and performance. “Our team is most proud of the quality of care we provide to our patients and our abilities to troubleshoot difficult situations to ensure they have a great surgical experience here at Renown,” said Mary Carl, RN. The entire department supports each other by working collaboratively and relying on each other’s expertise to provide the best possible care for patients. They understand that their success as a team depends on their abilities to support and help each other. “Our team is awesome here at South Meadows,” said Jon Capallupo, RN. “We can turn to each other for support, and we all work very well with each other. I am glad to be a part of this team.” “I am proud of how well all of us in preadmit works with each other every day,” added Lisa Closson, RN. “We try to make patients feel comfortable from the moment they arrive to the time they leave the department.” The pride that our preadmit team expends goes beyond their departmental limits – these team members are also trusted teachers. They work closely with cancer nurse navigators to teach weekly classes for patients who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer, coupled with lymphedema prevention and education classes. The team also encourages participation in Renown’s free smoking cessation programs to help their patients learn the risks and benefits of quitting smoking. When not serving patients or teaching classes, you can find many of these team members taking charge of multidisciplinary committees within our health system, including breast leadership, gastroenterology leadership, shared governance, infection control and recruitment and retention. On top of it all, this team certainly knows how to celebrate, with several of their members being a part of their own department-wide Celebration Committee, where they gather for retirement parties, baby showers and team get-togethers. Always active and never passing up a challenge, our preadmit department are shining examples of Renown’s Culture Commitments, especially Caring and Collaboration, and the pride in the vital work they do every day is limitless. “I am so happy my position in preadmit opened up for me at a time when I was really feeling challenged in my career,” said Nancy Hilts, RN. “The team that we have here is amazing. I am so grateful and thankful every day for the opportunity. It is an amazing place to work!”
Excellence in Heart Care Changes a Patient's Life
Being diagnosed with a chronic heart condition like atrial fibrillation (A-fib) can shift the course of your entire life. Embracing heart medications and lifestyle changes become your norm, and thanks to advancements in medicine and medical technology, managing the condition can bring you to a new sense of normalcy. But what if a different option was possible – one that would make medications and activity limits a thing of the past? This became the reality for Renown Health patient Richard Preyer after receiving a hybrid catheter ablation. Thanks to the vigilant surgical care of Shining Sun, MD, a cardiologist at the Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health, and his compassionate team, Richard has a new lease on life. Minimally Invasive with Maximal Results An A-fib patient since 2010 who had been living with an unfinished ablation, the 59-year-old Carson City resident turned to the internet to look for alternate solutions. He had heard that the Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health was a top-tier location for cardiovascular care. “I changed health insurance plans through Nevada Health Link to ensure I could see a Renown cardiologist,” said Richard. Choosing a cardiologist was an even easier decision for Richard. Dr. Sun’s introductory Find a Doctor video on Renown’s YouTube channel, where he displayed his expertise and determination, was more than enough for Richard to choose him as his cardiac care leader. At his first visit, Dr. Sun reviewed Richard’s records, and noted his prior unfinished ablation. The nine-hour procedure had been performed several years ago. With the enhanced technologies at Dr. Sun's disposal, Richard was excited at the thought of his life potentially being changed for good – with a minimally-invasive solution. Dr. Sun collaborated closely with Richard’s previous and current care teams – including a surgeon who performed a maze operation on him right before his surgery at Renown, to ensure his hybrid ablation was tailored uniquely to him. “Dr. Sun is clearly a very powerful cardiologist with many connections, and the coordination between his team and my other doctors was great,” said Richard. After working on the exterior of the heart in the first phase of the surgery and the interior of the heart during the second phase, Richard’s hybrid ablation was successful, completing the unfinished portion of his previous ablation. “Fixing A-fib can take one to three ablations, and sometimes it never holds,” said Richard. “That is one of the largest reasons why I am so thankful for this procedure and how it ended up.” Life After A-fib Now comes the long, arduous healing process, right? Not for Richard. With only eight incisions (four on each side of his chest), he was able to remove his bandages after two days, and he healed completely in one week. “I was even back to taking three-mile walks within a week of my operation,” said Richard. No more blood thinners. No more activity limits. And most importantly for Richard, no more heart-stabilizing medications that came with side effects he didn’t enjoy. He attributes his enhanced life to Dr. Sun and his team. “I highly recommend Dr. Sun and everyone that works with him,” he said. “Everyone in the group, from the nurses and anesthesiologists going above-and-beyond to the schedulers who helped me navigate the appointment process, made me have a lot of confidence. Their calm demeanors made so much difference.” Today, Richard now enjoys elongated walks in the northern Nevada outdoors, exotic vacations with his wife and, as he describes, “feeling like I’m in my 40’s again.” Learn more about the region's leader in cardiac health, heart and vascular care here.
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Sepsis: Causes & Symptoms
According to the Global Sepsis Alliance, 1 in 5 deaths worldwide are associated with sepsis. If not recognized early and treated promptly, sepsis is the final common pathway to death from most infectious diseases worldwide, including viruses such as COVID-19. We spoke with Jeremy Gonda, MD, a critical care physician from Renown Health’s Sepsis Committee to increase public awareness of this preventable medical emergency. What is sepsis? Sepsis is a response to infection—bacterial, viral or fungal—and can start anywhere in the body and spread into the bloodstream. The body is trying so hard to fight an infection that it begins releasing chemicals into the bloodstream that cause inflammation and the shutdown of multiple organ systems. “It carries a very poor prognosis in general unless you catch and treat it very early,” said Dr. Gonda. “Any infection can lead to sepsis. Typically your immune system takes care of the infection. It doesn’t progress, but in cases where the infection becomes severe, or the immune system doesn’t function properly, people can certainly die. So there’s, unfortunately, a very high mortality rate associated with sepsis.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year at least 1.7 million adults in America develop sepsis. While you can recover from sepsis if caught early, many sepsis survivors suffer from long-term physical and psychological effects. What are the signs of sepsis? One way to spot sepsis is to use the acronym SEPSIS: S – Slurred speech and confusion E – Extreme shivering or muscle pain/fever P – Passing no urine all day S – Severe breathlessness I – “I feel like I might die” S – Skin mottled or discolored Keep in mind that sepsis symptoms can vary depending on where the infection starts. “Patients may experience urinary burning if they have a urinary tract infection or a cough and shortness of breath if they have pneumonia first,” said Dr. Gonda. “However, often symptoms are more generalized or subtle such as fevers, confusion and malaise.” How do you develop sepsis? When germs enter your body, they can cause an infection. If you don’t stop that infection, it can cause sepsis. Areas of infection that more commonly result in sepsis include: Lungs, such as pneumonia Kidney, bladder and other parts of the urinary system Digestive system Bloodstream (bacteremia) Catheter sites Wounds or burns Who is most at risk? People with compromised immune systems are at greater risk for sepsis, such as “The very young, the elderly and any people who may have conditions that suppress your immune system,” said Dr. Gonda. “For instance, if you have diabetes or if you’re an organ transplant patient who is on immunosuppressant therapy, you’re at somewhat higher risk.” Sepsis is often considered a hospital-acquired infection, but a study in The Journal of American Medical Association found that 80% of sepsis cases occur outside of a hospital. That’s why it’s especially important to remember any infection can lead to sepsis, and anyone can develop sepsis from an infection. What do I do? Timing is critical in the case of sepsis and septic shock. According to a study on septic shock patients, there is a 7.6 percent decrease in survival for each hour treatment is delayed. On the other end, if treatment is given within an hour of the first drop in blood pressure, the survival rate is 80 percent. Because sepsis can be so deadly, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. “If you’re not getting any better, if you think symptoms are progressively worsening – you should definitely be evaluated by a doctor,” said Dr. Gonda. You can help #StopSepsis by getting involved at worldsepsisday.org.
Happy and Healthy Life After Heart Valve Replacement Surgery
Watch what happens when a family’s matriarch finds out she has to have heart valve replacement surgery. Thanks to supportive cardiac care, she is now back to health and enjoying her extended family with a healthy heart. Marilyn O’Gorman has a full heart full of love: Just ask her six children, 15 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. However, in 2009, tests showed that same heart had medical issues. So her close family was by her side when she underwent heart valve replacement surgery. O’Gorman says her heart doctor, Athan Roumanas, MD, FACS, put her at ease about the surgery. “You’re very nervous — you’re scared,” says O’Gorman. “You don’t know: Are you going to come out of it? Is it going to work?” Heart Valve Replacement Surgery Comes with an Unexpected Question O’Gorman was asked to choose whether she’d prefer a pig or a cow valve — ultimately inquiring of Dr. Roumanas which one he’d choose for his own mother. “And he said, ‘Well, probably pig,'” she recalls. “And I said, ‘OK, I’ll oink for you.’ And that’s how I got that, and he did a wonderful job.” O’Gorman continues her care at the Renown Institute for Heart and Vascular Health, so she can stay heart healthy and spend her free time with the many generations of family in her life.
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¿Desea recuperarse de una cirugía más rápido? ¡Póngase en movimiento!
To be on the move is a scary concept when you’re recovering from surgery. But did you know getting up and at ’em could be the key to a quicker recovery, post-surgery? Here’s some expert insight from Renown Surgical Services. The team at has some news for you: Rest and movement are important to prevent serious complications. Here are some tips about how to get mobile after your procedure — and why it’s fundamentally important. Tip 1: Start Simple While you’re in bed, move your legs and feet up and down. Be sure to ask the nurses to help you get out of bed and into the chair for all your meals, or walk to the bathroom when needed. If you feel up to it, take a walk in the hallways with the nursing staff. Tip 2: The Sooner, the Better This may be surprising, but too much rest is not necessarily a good thing. The old saying “You use it, or you lose it” rings very true to maintaining the strength needed to get yourself out of bed. Beginning the mobility process early in your hospital stay will not only help you maintain strength and function, it may also help you get home sooner. Though it may seem counter intuitive, lying in bed all day can delay your healing time and cause serious complications to arise, including pneumonia, deep vein thrombosis or blood clots, pressure ulcers and sometimes constipation. Tip 3: Mobilize Your Support System Getting out of bed, sitting in a chair for meals and walking around your room or hospital unit can help reduce your risk of complications. The nursing staff will help you out of bed the same day of your surgery if it’s cleared by your doctor. Tip 4: Safety First The nursing staff is here to keep you safe, so make sure you call them for assistance getting out of bed. Even if you think you can do it yourself, use your call light to notify the nursing staff you are ready to get up and move. In addition, new medications can sometimes impair our judgment, balance and safety, so it’s always better to have help even though you may not need it. This is also why you may have a “bed alarm” on, to remind you to call for help and keep you safe while you are recovering. Tip 5: Move, But Manage Your Pain Many people find that getting up and moving actually helps their pain, rather than making it much worse. Taking the right amount of medication at the right times will minimize your pain and help you to get moving. Your care team will work with you on how much pain medication is right to manage any postoperative pain, with the goal for you to be comfortable enough to be able to move and gradually increase your activity each day. Tip 6: Maintain that Momentum at Home Mobility doesn’t end once you’re discharged from the hospital. It’s key to keep moving to maintain health and function. When you first arrive home, it’s crucial to take frequent movement breaks throughout the day. Increase activity as it becomes more comfortable, and be sure to ease back into an active daily routine. If you have concerns about your mobility once home, be sure to discuss this with your doctor at your follow-up appointment. Renown Surgical Services | 775-982-3993 Ask your doctor if you have any questions about your medical condition or the specific surgical procedure planned, or contact the team at Renown Surgical Services. Learn More
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¿Por qué no puedo comer antes de la cirugía?
If you’re having surgery on your shoulder, why does it matter what’s in your stomach? We asked Dr. Matthew Hoberg to explain more about pre-surgery directives, including fasting. If you have an upcoming surgery, your care team likely gave you instructions to fast before your procedure. But why? We asked Matthew Hoberg, M.D., medical director of Renown Surgical Services, to explain why it’s important to forgo food and drinks before surgery. Why are patients instructed to fast before surgery? Regardless of surgery type or site, we want the stomach to be empty before having anesthesia, because anesthesia can reduce your body’s ability to protect and prevent food or acids from the stomach from entering the lungs. Normally, your body is able to prevent this, but anesthesia medicines make it harder for your body to do so. When food or liquids from the stomach get into the lungs, doctors call it “aspiration.” This is rare, but can be dangerous if it does happen. Solid foods and liquids leave the stomach at different rates too. Solid food takes longer to empty from the stomach than liquids, so the time to stop eating solids (eight hours) is longer than that for clear liquids (two hours). The body has energy reserves to produce needed nutrients and fuel during fasting. Recently, studies have shown it is important to stay hydrated and have some carbohydrates in clear liquids up to two hours before surgery, so clear liquids are allowed until two hours before surgery. There are also special rules for babies and young children who need surgery. For example, you may give breast milk up to four hours before surgery. If your baby drinks formula, you should stop six hours before surgery, and all solid foods you should stop eight hours before. Your child’s doctor or nurse will give you exact instructions. What if you show up for surgery and have broken the no-eating rule? Will surgery be re-scheduled? If patients have not followed the fasting guidelines, surgery will be postponed or rescheduled due to the possible increased risk associated with not having an empty stomach. The exception would be emergency surgery that cannot be delayed in which case special precautions are taken to help prevent anything from getting into the lungs. What other pre-operative rules should be followed to the letter? All instructions given to patients before their surgery or procedure should be followed. There are specific medical reasons behind all the instructions and they are designed for safety — to minimize risks, lower complications like infections and enhance the recovery process to help patients get back to normal as quickly as possible. Also, many patients ask if they should continue taking medications before surgery. The answer is: It depends. Your doctor or nurse will tell you which medicines you should take and when. Some medicines need to be stopped before surgery. But for others, it’s important you keep taking them as usual. You may also get new medicines to take before surgery. You may be asked to take some medications before surgery as part of advanced pain management protocols. If you need to take medicine right before your surgery, you can take it with a sip of water.
How Do I Prepare for Surgery?
Renown’s team of nurses and respiratory therapists discuss what you need to know before undergoing surgery, including fasting guidelines and how to improve recovery. There are several things to know before you undergo surgery, including steps to prepare at home in advance of your procedure. Fasting Guidelines: No solid foods eight hours prior to surgery You may have clear liquids three hours before your surgery. Clear liquids include water, apple juice and lemon or lime-flavored soda water (not cola). In addition, do not chew or smoke tobacco (regular or e-cigarettes) after midnight the night before your surgery, unless instructed by your doctor or anesthesiologist.
True Grit Healing a Cowboys Heart
At 85, James Domingos is still enjoying life as a cowboy, thanks to a transcatheter aortic valve replacement. Always rolling with the punches when it comes to life, 85-year-old James Domingos faced his health issues with the same grit. For many years, he roped cattle for friends and rounded up horses for the Bureau of Land Management. In recent years, a pacemaker controlled the rhythm of his heart, but didn’t slow him down. “We used to be able to take walks for 15 minutes in one direction and take the dog,” says Domingos’ wife, Joy. “Then it got to be less and less.” Tests at Renown Health revealed a heart valve was nearly closed. His heart doctor, Jake Ichino, MD, FACC, FSCAI, suggested a transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR, which repairs a heart valve without removing the damaged valve. The procedure is recommended for patients who are at high risk for open heart surgery.