On Tuesday, Feb. 11, physicians at Overlake Medical Center replaced a
valve in the heart of an 87-year-old man in a game-changing,
minimally-invasive procedure - all performed via a catheter to the man's
The Heart Team at Overlake Medical Center and Group Health replaced the
man's aortic valve with a new artificial valve that will greatly improve
the ability of the patient's heart to regulate the flow of blood.
Overlake is the only hospital on the Eastside, and one of only four
hospitals in the state, to provide this procedure. Because there aren't
any other treatment options for patients with severe or critical aortic
valve stenosis who are not suitable candidates for traditional surgery,
this minimally-invasive procedure offers new hope to patients and their
The physicians are part of a new program partnership between Overlake
Medical Center and Group Health Cooperative to treat patients who, until
now, had few options. Called transcatheter aortic valve replacement
(TAVR), the procedure is a less-invasive alternative for patients with
severe stenosis or "narrowing" of the aortic valve who are not suitable
surgical candidates, are high-risk or are too sick for standard
open-heart surgery to replace the valve. European studies will soon
assess the suitability of TAVR for patients with moderate risks for
"We're at the juncture where technology is changing the field of
cardiology yet again. Without TAVR, some patients have no choice but to
live with symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain and
fainting," said Ronnier Aviles, MD, Interventional Cardiologist at
Overlake Medical Clinics and co-medical director of the TAVR program at
Overlake Medical Center.
Aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the aortic valve - usually caused by
calcium build up or scarring - that restricts blood flow through the
heart, sometimes resulting in heart failure.
"Before TAVR, patients diagnosed with severe symptomatic aortic stenosi
who were not surgical candidates carried a mortality rate as high as 50
percent at two years," said Scott J. Haugen, MD, Interventional
Cardiologist at Group Health Bellevue Medical Center and co-medical
director of the TAVR program at Overlake Medical Center. "In a clinical
trial, TAVR reduced mortality in the same patient population by greater
than 20 percent. For the first time, we have the opportunity for
Overlake and Group Health to not only help improve those patients'
length of life, but also their quality of life."
The TAVR procedure is performed in a specially-designed surgical space
that combines features of a heart surgery suite and heart
catheterization lab into one state-of-the-art surgical suite. The TAVR
procedure is one of many heart and vascular procedures performed at
Overlake Medical Center.
Patients seeking more information about this procedure should contact
the Overlake Valve Clinic at 1-855-895-VALV (8258) or visit www.overlakehospital.org/TAVR.
More information about Group Health cardiology is available at https://www1.ghc.org/html/public/specialties/cardiology/.
About Overlake Medical Center
Overlake Medical Center is a nonprofit, non-tax-supported regional
medical center with a network of primary care, specialty and urgent care
medical clinics throughout the Eastside. The hospital is licensed for
349 beds and offers a comprehensive range of services, including cardiac
care, cancer care, general and specialty surgery, women's programs,
senior care and psychiatric services, and it was the first Level III
trauma service on the Eastside. For more information, visit www.overlakehospital.org.
About Group Health
Group Health is one of the nation's leading nonprofit health systems,
recognized for its consumer-governed cooperative origins and innovative
solutions for improving care. Established in 1947, Group Health
Cooperative, together with its subsidiaries Group Health Options, Inc.
and KPS Health Plans, provides health coverage to more than 617,000
residents of Washington state and North Idaho. More than 394,000 members
receive care from Group Health Physicians medical group at Group Health
Medical Center locations across the Puget Sound region and Spokane.
Group Health advances health in the community through its medical
education, charitable foundation and nationally recognized research
institute. For more information about Group Health, visit www.ghc.org.
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