Mercy Health Medical Director for Structural Heart Disease Kristopher Selke, DO, has been performing transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVR) for the past five years, and now brings his expertise to Muskegon. The first TAVR procedures within our health system were successfully completed by Dr. Selke on October 2, 2017, which puts Mercy Health even closer to achieving comprehensive heart program status in our region.
What is TAVR?
A transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive procedure that brings a new aortic valve to relieve the obstruction of the old valve. The TAVR procedure is performed by putting a thin, flexible tube called a catheter through a blood vessel in the groin or sometimes through a small incision between the ribs. The physician uses the catheter to deliver a new valve to the heart. The new valve is made of a special material mounted on a metal frame. It also helps improve blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body.
What Does this Mean for Mercy Health?
“If you really look at technological advances that have occurred in the last 15 years from a cardiac standpoint this (TAVR) is one of the biggest. In fact, our cardiothoracic surgery volume for Mercy Health is the highest volume center in the state of Michigan that was not performing TAVR. Now, we are able to provide access to that standard of care technology, which we were previously having to refer to our competitor hospitals.
“When I compare health care at Mercy Health with others, the fundamental difference is the individualized and collaborative care. The relationship between the physician and the patient is paramount. At other organizations, they’re trying to focus on ultra-specialized care – and somewhere in that, the patients get lost. So, I think true physician-patient interaction and collaborative care is key here. It’s a great example of multi-disciplinary collaboration.”