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Published on May 05, 2015

New Asante Heart Valve Clinic Brings the First of its Kind Life Saving Treatment to Southern Oregon

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement now available

Asante is bringing life saving treatment to the region for people with severe aortic valve disease. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is now available for the first time in Southern Oregon at the new heart valve clinic at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center for people who are considered too high risk for open heart surgery. Asante Rogue Regional is the fourth center in Oregon performing this procedure; it is the 14th in the Pacific Northwest; and is one of only 290 hospitals across the U.S. qualified to offer the procedure.

“Part of Asante’s Strategic Plan was to create the Asante Heart Valve Clinic and establish a TAVR program to improve access of local residents to advanced cardiac care,” says Roy Vinyard, Asante CEO. “I am happy to report that this vision has become a reality through the efforts of our cardiovascular team led by interventional cardiologist, Dr. Kent Dauterman, cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Charles Carmeci, and Angel Cross, RN, the valve program coordinator.”

Both Drs. Dauterman and Carmeci completed 100 structural heart procedures to become accredited and on February 15, 2015, the team performed its first TAVR. Since then, several more have been performed – all with positive outcomes. “It’s important to note the remarkable start to this program as it is for patients considered to be high risk or not eligible for open heart surgery,” says Kent Dauterman, MD. “Once symptoms of aortic stenosis occur, approximately fifty percent of patients die within two years. The treatment is a new heart valve.”

Severe aortic stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart that impedes normal blood flow. Similar to a stent placed in an artery, the TAVR approach delivers a fully collapsible replacement valve through a catheter and then is expanded into the existing space of the aortic valve. “Patients benefit by the minimally invasive procedure with improved quality and length of life,” adds Dauterman.

The TAVR Program is a collaborative endeavor. The team consists of 36 physicians, nurses, and technicians who are involved in the care of each patient before, during, and after hospitalization.

In addition to Drs. Dauterman and Carmeci, cardiac imaging specialist, Dr. Nathan Funk, cardiac anesthesiologist, Dr. Ben Grable, and interventional cardiologist, Dr. Mark Moran, completed extensive training and visited five TAVR centers including Stanford, Cleveland Clinic, OHSU, University of Washington, and Providence St. Vincent.

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As the largest health care provider in nine counties, Asante provides comprehensive medical care to more than 600,000 people throughout southern Oregon and northern California. Our facilities include Asante Ashland Community Hospital in Ashland, Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass, Asante Physician Partners and additional health care partnerships throughout the region.