TAVR - Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute Only Provider in Northwest Florida

The Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute is the first team of cardiovascular specialists in the Florida Panhandle and one of the select programs in the nation to offer Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement or (TAVR) – a revolutionary new treatment option for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not candidates for traditional open heart surgery.

Aortic stenosis is a thickening of the aortic valve opening that restricts normal blood flow to the entire body. Patients who suffer from aortic stenosis often experience symptoms that can restrict normal day-to-day activities, such as walking short distances or climbing stairs, due to shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain or fatigue. Severe aortic stenosis is a serious problem. If left untreated and not repaired it is potentially fatal. Studies indicate that 50 percent of severe aortic stenosis patients will not survive more than an average of two years after the onset of symptoms.

"Until now, the only treatment for severe aortic stenosis has been open aortic valve replacement – a type of open heart surgery to replace the affected valve with a donor valve. However, if you are too ill or not a candidate for open-heart surgery and medicines are not easing your symptoms, we are now able to use the minimally invasive TAVR procedure to implant a new valve through a catheter, making only a small incision in the groin or chest. This revolutionizes care for patients, making relief more accessible to patients who would otherwise have no options,” explains F. James Fleischhauer, M.D., FACC, a board certified interventional cardiologist. Dr. Fleischhauer performs TAVR procedures at Baptist Hospital along with a team of physicians that includes interventional cardiologists Luther Carter, M.D., FACC, FSCAI; Saurabh Sanon, M.D., FACC; and cardiothoracic surgeons James Nielsen, M.D., FACS, and William Bailey, M.D., FACS.

The multidisciplinary TAVR team at the Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute is unique to our area due to its size and collaborative experience. Board certified interventional cardiologists partner with a highly skilled cardiothoracic surgeons to complete the procedure using the Edwards SAPIEN Valve – the first transcatheter aortic valve approved by the FDA for use in the U.S.

"Bringing TAVR to Northwest Florida is just one example of the many advanced treatment options and innovations available at Baptist that can’t be found anywhere else in our area," confirms Dr. Nielsen.

TAVR 50th milestone - Our team has now performed more than 50 Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, or TAVR, procedures. Why is this significant? Because no other provider in our area offers this life saving procedure that may be the only hope for patients considered too high risk for traditional open heart surgery. This is a tremendous milestone for our team and a great benefit to the people in our community who need this level of advanced care. TAVR is saving people and improving the quality of life for patients in Northwest Florida and you can find it only at Baptist.

To make an appointment with the physicians of the Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute, please call the Cardiology Consultants office at 850.484.6500.