COMPASSION AND EMPATHY
As we age, one of the most common cardiovascular problems we face is the thickening and closing of the aortic valve—the doorway that blood must pass through to reach the main artery to the body. This thickening leads to heart failure and death if not corrected. For years, this condition required open-heart surgery with a long recovery period that can often be too physically demanding for older patients. Until now.
In March of 2015, UNC physicians performed the first suprasternal Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) surgery that delivered a new aortic valve through a small incision just below the Adam’s apple. This minimally invasive procedure requires a much less stressful recovery and often patients can return home the next day. With demand for the procedure increasing, the number of TAVR surgeries has nearly tripled in recent years.
Today, doctors from the world’s other elite health-care institutions travel to the UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C., to learn this life-saving procedure. UNC Medicine’s leadership, driven by our mission to provide better outcomes for patients, pushes the boundaries of possibility, saving lives far beyond the walls of our hospitals.