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During a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure, the patient’s aortic valve is replaced using a minimally-invasive approach which doesn’t require open heart surgery. Image by Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine, CA.

UNC has begun a program to offer transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to patients who are too frail or ill to undergo open heart surgery. With TAVR, a new technology, physicians replace the aortic valve via minimally-invasive approaches, including percutaneous procedures (intervention without an incision), which provide outcomes that are as good, or sometimes better than, surgical valve replacement.

The TAVR procedure is well-suited for an academic medical center with a collaborative approach to patient care. The UNC Center for Heart & Vascular Care is a team of specialists from cardiac surgery, cardiology, interventional radiology and vascular surgery, provides comprehensive and well-coordinated patient care.

Thomas Caranasos, MD, of the UNC Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, is one of the TAVR program’s medical directors. “We are going to be at the forefront of not just using the technology but developing and advancing the technology,” he said.

John P. Vavalle, MD, and Michael Yeung, MD, of the UNC Division of Cardiology, are the other medical directors. , RN, BSN, is the TAVR program coordinator.

To refer a patient or for more information, email or call 1-800-806-1968.