Delaware Public Media

Southern Delaware has a new alternative to open heart surgery

Aug 18, 2020

Sussex County now has a new less-invasive alternative to open heart surgery.

Beebe Healthcare announced Tuesday it has treated 11 patients with Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, or TAVR.

The procedure treats Aortic Stenosis by leaving the broken aortic valve in the heart and replacing it with an inflatable one inserted through a catheter.  

This saves the patient from having open heart surgery and spending a few days in the hospital. 

Patients treated with TAVR usually leave the hospital the next day, and Beebe Executive Director of Cardiac and Vascular Services Mary Frances Suter says it tends to be a better long-term solution as well.

“Over the course of the past ten years multiple, multiple studies have been done that actually show that patients do better at six months, a year and three years out after having the minimally invasive valve replacement as opposed to the surgical valve replacement,” said Suter.     

Suter says TAVR is one of the procedures performed at Beebe’s new hybrid cardiac operating room, part of a new vision for cardiovascular care at the Sussex health system.

“Being able to offer Sussex County and this community, alternatives to a standard aortic valve replacement was one of the goals when I originally came a year ago from Philadelphia,” she said         

Suter says previously Sussex patients would have had to drive as far as Philadelphia, Baltimore or to ChristianaCare in New Castle County for the TAVR procedure.

She says Beebe physicians and staff spent time training in New York and Norfolk, Virginia to learn the procedure and bring it to Southern Delaware.