Harbor-UCLA Begins TAVR Therapy
TORRANCE, Calif., October 10, 2012 - Three patients at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center successfully underwent a new cardiac procedure over the last week to replace their aortic valves known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure to save the lives of patients considered too high risk for traditional open-heart procedures.
Harbor-UCLA now joins an elite group of hospitals offering the FDA-approved TAVR procedure and is the only medical center in the South Bay region and currently one of only three approved centers in Los Angeles County to offer this live saving treatment. The TAVR procedure results in improved long-term survival and has an additional positive long-term cost benefit by reducing costs of recurring hospital readmissions from heart failure.
TAVR is used to treat patients with aortic stenosis, an inflammatory disease of the aortic valve that causes progressive calcification and immobility of the valve leaflets. This results in restriction of blood flow out of the heart and leads to limiting symptoms of shortness of breath, chest pain and heart failure. Once symptomatic, without aortic valve replacement (AVR), on average, 50% of patients survive two years.
“This is a remarkable procedure that has been available to patients in large academic and private medical centers,” says Dr. Quang Bui, lead physician and medical director of the hospital’s Structural Heart Disease Interventional Program and assistant clinical professor at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine. “Providing the TAVR procedure to patients’ in the South Bay community at large and specifically to the underserved patients of Los Angeles County community speaks to Harbor-UCLA’s long history of providing breakthrough medicine to those with limited means.”
TAVR was approved by the FDA in November 2011 for patients with aortic stenosis who are deemed inoperable due to underlying medical conditions and because of the complexity of the procedure has been limited to a small number of medical centers across the United States. TAVR is performed by inserting a new aortic valve across the diseased valve using a catheter based technology via small incisions through the patient’s leg. The procedure has been rigorously tested in clinical trials over the past five years prior to FDA approval.
Bui says surgery is the gold standard therapy for patients who are healthy enough to undergo surgery. However it is apparent that 30- 60% of patients never get surgery because they are perceived to be are poor operative candidates. Their quality of life is generally poor and they are dying of their disease. Dr. Rodney White, chief of Vascular Surgery, an additional member of the team of physicians involved in TAVR at Harbor-UCLA, notes “this is a revolutionary technology which offers patients in the South Bay a new medical therapy and hope for a better symptom-free life.”
TAVR AvailabilityThere are currently 150 sites in the U.S. where TAVR is commercially available, with three sites available in Los Angeles County. Harbor-UCLA is the only County-run facility to offer the procedure. TAVR is game changing therapy that has altered the paradigm for the treatment of patients with aortic stenosis who are too high risk for conventional surgical interventions.
About Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is a major teaching hospital and Level 1 Trauma Center run by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. The hospital provides 24-hour emergency services for acute medical, surgical, pediatric, obstetrics/gynecology, and psychiatric conditions. Harbor-UCLA also provides a wide range of primary and specialty care services geared to underserved populations.
Contact: Phil Rocha (Harbor-UCLA)