On May 7, 2019, the 100th patient underwent transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) at the James Family Heart Center at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) West in Prescott.

Dr. Soundos Moualla

“Our TAVR team does incredible work every day and for every patient,” said Soundos K. Moualla, MD, FACC, FSCAI, Structural Heart Interventional Cardiologist and Director, YRMC’s Structural Heart Program. “We are honored to have cared for the first 100 TAVR patients and look forward to serving the next 100 patients.”

This milestone – reached less than two-and-a-half years after the Heart Center’s first TAVR in January 2017 – demonstrates the program’s growth and success. In addition to being important to the region, TAVR also has changed the lives of individuals whose health made traditional valve repair surgery too risky.

“Our TAVR patients are so much more than numbers to the heart team,” said Pierre Tibi, MD, FACS, Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Medical Director, the James Family Heart Center at YRMC West. “These are amazing people who after their TAVR procedures have embraced life. They have welcomed grandchildren and great grandchildren, enjoyed travel, volunteered in the community, become dedicated to exercise, and lived healthy lives thanks to the availability of TAVR in our region.”

Dr. Jose Torres

Dr. Jose Torres

How TAVR Works
TAVR is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for people with aortic stenosis (blockage). During a TAVR procedure, the aortic valve is repaired without removing the old, damaged valve. The TAVR procedure steps are performed through an extremely small opening that leaves the chest bones in place. An artificial valve is deployed into the opening and takes over functioning for the damaged valve.

YRMC’s Exceptional TAVR Team
All TAVR programs are federally required to have both a surgeon and interventional cardiologist to perform TAVR. YRMC’s include:

  • Jose Torres, MD, FACS – Cardiothoracic surgeon (primary implanter)
  • Soundos Moualla, MD, FACC, FSCAI – Structural Heart Interventional Cardiologist (primary implanter)

The TAVR team also includes:

  • Saina Attaran, MD, MRCS, FRCS – Cardiothoracic Surgeon
  • Pierre Tibi, MD, FACS – Cardiothoracic Surgeon
  • Mansour Assar, MD – Interventional Cardiologist
  • James D’Antonio, MD – Interventional Cardiologist
  • Anil Kumar, MD, MRCP, FACC, RPVI, RPhS – Imaging Specialist, Cardiologist
  • Gwen Rhodes, RN – Structural Heart Coordinator

YRMC’s TAVR team works with George Gellert, MD, a globally recognized specialist in transesophageal echocardiogram imaging. The TAVR team also includes anesthesiologists and staff from YRMC’s Surgical Services and Cath Lab as well as the support of almost every discipline in the hospital.

The Hybrid OR and TAVR
TAVR procedures are performed in YRMC’s Hybrid Operating Room, considered to be among the finest in the nation. In the Hybrid OR, heart specialists diagnose patients using permanently integrated imaging equipment. After they diagnosis the patient’s condition, the heart team is able to immediately perform a non-invasive, therapeutic procedure. The Hybrid OR can also convert into a state-of-the-art operating suite, which allows a seamless transition without moving the patient.

“The TAVR program’s success is due to the outstanding professionals who provide the highest level of care to our patients,” said Dr. Moualla. “I am proud to call them my colleagues.”