FLORENCE, S.C. — McLeod Valve Clinic Team members, along with the operating room staff, recently completed their 125th TAVR procedure. This procedure, offered at McLeod Regional Medical Center since 2017, provides care for patients with advanced heart valve disease.

The McLeod Valve Clinic Team returns patients diagnosed with valve disease back to a quality of life they can enjoy with the minimally invasive option of TAVR.

To honor this milestone, the McLeod Valve Clinic Team invited the 125 TAVR patients to a celebration on Oct. 21 at the McLeod Plaza. One of the TAVR patients attending the event was George “Harold” Liebenrood and his wife, Ann.

Liebenrood had been experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness and low energy since the fall of 2018. He took his concerns to Dr. Anil Om, a McLeod cardiologist. Om referred Liebenrood to the McLeod Valve Clinic Team.

The McLeod Valve Clinic Team includes cardiothoracic surgeons Dr. Cary Huber and Dr. Robert Messier; interventional cardiologists Dr. Fred Krainin and Dr. Brian Blaker; anesthesiologists Dr. Daniel Fox, Dr. Kyle Johnson and Dr. Robert Savage; and Ryan Hill, a nurse practitioner and McLeod Valve Clinic coordinator.

“It was the first time I had heard of TAVR,” Liebenrood said. “But I believed the procedure could be very successful for me. In 1997, I underwent open heart surgery. At my age, 90, the physicians did not want to perform another open heart surgery to replace my valve and thought TAVR was a better opportunity.”

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), performed at McLeod Regional Medical Center, allows physicians to replace a patient’s diseased or damaged heart valve without removing the old valve.

TAVR is performed similar to a heart catheterization. The physician inserts a catheter, a long flexible thin tube with the artificial valve, through a small incision in an artery in the leg, then guides it to the heart using X-ray imaging. The valve is precisely positioned across the diseased valve. The new valve is then released and starts functioning immediately. The old valve provides the foundation to hold the new valve in place.

“There are many benefits to the TAVR procedure,” McLeod interventional cardiologist Dr. Fred Krainin said. “Those benefits include a shorter hospital stay, relief from symptoms, minimal scarring than with an open procedure and an improved quality of life following the procedure with the ability to return to one’s normal daily activities.”

“Before the TAVR procedure, I could not work in my garden for any length of time without having to stop and rest,” Liebenrood said. “Now with my new heart valve, my energy level is back.”

“There are approximately 1,100 hospitals in the United States that have an open heart surgery program,” said McLeod Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Robert Messier. “Of those, about 600 are offering the TAVR procedure.”

TAVR procedures are performed in the hybrid operating suite at McLeod Regional Medical Center. The second hybrid suite at McLeod, the operating room combines the medical expertise of interventional cardiologists and the surgical expertise of cardiothoracic surgeons with the most advanced heart technology available to perform TAVR.

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