Memorial Hospital of Carbondale offers alternative to open heart surgery

Regina Einig, 75, had a severe case of this disease, and had the new procedure in February (Source: Brittany Jacob, KFVS)
Regina Einig, 75, had a severe case of this disease, and had the new procedure in February (Source: Brittany Jacob, KFVS)

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The  Memorial Hospital of Carbondale is being put on the national map with its new structural heart program.

The center is introducing the "minimally invasive surgical option" for Heart Valve Replacement. This program was started to avoid open heart surgery.

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It's an alternative for patients with a life threatening heart valve disease called aortic stenosis. 75-year-old, Regina Einig, had a severe case of this disease, and had the new procedure in February.

"It was incredible, it was so easy," she said. "I had the surgery on Thursday, went home on Saturday, went to church on Sunday and straight piano on Monday. that's what you call good recovery time. I was really happy with that."

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) puts Memorial Hospital of Carbondale in the top 10th percentile of hospitals in the nation in terms of cardiovascular complexity. Memorial Hospital of Carbondale is the only hospital in Illinois south of Springfield offering this procedure.

Doctors performed the first procedure in Carbondale in January and 26 procedures since then.

Interventional cardiologists with Prairie Cardiovascular operate in tandem with SIH Medical Group cardiothoracic surgeons in the hospital's hybrid operating room, along with a team of highly skilled cardiac catheterization lab technicians and OR surgical support teams.

"TAVR is an addition to, not an in place of, surgical aortic valve replacement, which remains the gold standard," said SIH System Director of Cardiovascular Services Steve Albright. "The TAVR option provides a less invasive option for patients that could not withstand the rigors of actual open heart surgery."

According to SIH, doctors insert a catheter into an artery in the upper thigh. With the heart still beating, a collapsible valve inside the catheter is guided into the chest. Once inside, the replacement valve expands and pushes the damaged valve aside. The replacement valve is then secured into place, where it begins to function immediately.

Because the procedure is minimally invasive and requires a small incision, most patients can expect an in-hospital recovery time of three days or less.

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