HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake launches innovative alternative to open heart surgery

May 2nd, 2019

The HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake cardiology team celebrates after the hospital’s first TAVR procedures.

This April, Houston’s Bay Area marked a major cardiology milestone as HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake launched its transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) service, successfully completing three procedures on its first day.

A relatively new procedure, TAVR replaces damaged aortic valves through a catheter in contrast to open-heart surgery in which surgeons cut open the chest to expose the heart. Typically, candidates for TAVR suffer from aortic stenosis, a common but serious valve problem in which the aortic valve opening narrows, dangerously restricting blood flow and affecting pressure in the heart.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved TAVR in 2012 for patients who are considered at high risk for open-heart surgery. In 2016, the FDA approved the procedure for patients at intermediate risk. Later this year, experts expect the agency to expand its approval to low-risk patients, which will dramatically increase the number of patients who qualify for TAVR.

Just this April, Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger underwent TAVR for his heart valve disease, raising awareness of the procedure’s benefits, including not needing to rely on a bypass machine and a faster recovery – one to two days instead of three to five.

The FDA imposes strict requirements for hospitals wishing to practice TAVR, including successfully completing a certain number of open heart, surgical aortic valve, catheter, and percutaneous coronary interventions per year. The heart hospital at HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake, the only dedicated heart hospital in the Bay Area, performs more than 1,000 heart procedures annually.

Surgeons Pranav Loyalka and Hannan Chaugle worked with a team of cardiologists to successfully perform HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake’s first TAVR procedures. Patients interested in learning more about TAVR and other cardiology services should call (888) 842-3627 for more information.