Since Dalmasso is an older patient and has already had 2 open-heart surgeries, his interventional cardiologist, Benjamin Galper, MD, MPH, told him he was a good candidate for a treatment called TAVR, short for transcatheter aortic valve replacement. TAVR involves threading a catheter (a tube with a small opening) through the patient’s leg into the heart, which allows the surgeon to replace the diseased aortic valve with a new, artificial valve without opening the chest cavity.
TAVR offers a number of advantages over open heart procedures: it is much less invasive, leaves smaller scars and has a lower risk of infection. Recovery is also much faster, as patients who undergo open-heart surgery often stay in the hospital for a week or more, while patients who have a TAVR usually go home after only a day or two.
A “concierge-level experience” for patients
TAVR was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2011, and Dr. Galper and colleagues at the Mid-Atlantic Kaiser Permanente Cardiovascular Institute recently performed their 500th TAVR procedure. Kaiser Permanente cardiologists continued to streamline the patient experience before, during and after the procedure.
“As a fully integrated system, we are able to provide a concierge-level experience for our patients without the added costs typically associated with concierge medicine,” said Scott Haugen, MD, chief cardiology officer at Kaiser Permanente. in Washington State. “Patients meet with our interventional cardiologist and cardiac surgeon and get all their necessary imaging the same day. This would require at least 3 or 4 separate visits to many settings outside of Kaiser Permanente. »
“The entire TAVR process is expedited so the time from referral to the implant procedure is a month or less,” Dr. Galper explained. “Our patients usually only stay in the hospital for one night, so they can recover at home with their families.”
“I feel like myself again”
Dalmasso said every part of his cardiac care experience went well.
“They did my TAVR procedure and then released me from the hospital the next day, which felt like a miracle,” he said.