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Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital’s cardiology team gathered Tuesday to unveil the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, or TAVR, a cutting-edge cardiac procedure.

“Over the last decade, the TAVR procedure has revolutionized the way that we treat heart disease,” said Dr. Abhishek Sinha, a structural heart director at Henry Mayo.

Sinha was a fellow at the University of Washington, when they did the first TAVR procedure, and has performed 175 since then.

TAVR began as a procedure for high-risk patients only, but as improvements were made, it has now become the most common way to replace the aortic valve procedure, Sinha added.

Dr. Abhisheck Sinah, MD, left, describes an animation of the TAVR procedure during the press conference held in the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital education room in Valencia on Tuesday, 080321. Dan Watson/The Signal

While an aortic valve replacement typically requires open-heart surgery, the minimally invasive TAVR procedure replaces narrowed valves that fail to properly open through very small openings that leave all the chest bones in place.

Additionally, TAVR provides treatment options for patients who may not have been considered for valve replacement, as well as those who are in all risk categories, while requiring less time in the hospital for recovery and having a survival benefit over surgery.

Henry Mayo performed its first TAVR on June 21 on an 88-year-old woman who had only a two-day hospital stay and now feels dramatically better, according to Sinha.

Since then, they’ve performed a total of six procedures, including one on Santa Clarita resident and longtime Henry Mayo volunteer Richard Sears, who said he feels like he can finally walk without having to stop and catch his breath.

Dr. Abhisheck Sinah, MD, displays a model of the human heart as he explanes the TAVR procedure during a press conference held in the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital education room in Valencia on Tuesday, 080321. Dan Watson/The Signal

Even his wife, Maria, has seen a change in him and that he’s doing better, adding, “It’s good to have him back.”

The procedure itself felt like was over before it began, Sears said, with what felt like thousands of people around him to treat him.

“I’m so grateful for the care I received, (and) grateful for this very successful procedure,” Sears added. “I want to thank those individuals that had this vision and the determination to provide this amazing procedure right here in Santa Clarita Valley.”

“They say it takes a village to raise a child, well in the hospital setting, it takes the coordination of several departments to create a program, and all of us share in the excitement of seeing this program come to fruition and bring such high-quality care to our community,” added Rosella Dolan, cardiovascular services nurse navigator at Henry Mayo.

TAVR patient Dick Sears is applauded by his wife Maria, seated left, and medical staff as he comes forward to speak during the TAVR press conference held in the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital education room in Valencia on Tuesday, 080321. Dan Watson/The Signal

Dolan went on to say that it took a year to develop the program, with collaboration and coordination of various departments to make it a “well-oiled machine.”

“Here at Henry Mayo, we want to see all of our patients recover and succeed. The patients within these walls are our friends, our families, our neighbors, and we make every effort to make them feel at ease,” added Dolan, who is a Santa Clarita resident herself.

For more information on Henry Mayo’s Roberta G. Veloz Cardiovascular Center, visit henrymayo.com/heart 

Rosella Dolan, RN, Cardiovascular Services nurse navigator at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital speaks during the press conference held in the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital education room in Valencia on Tuesday, 080321. Dan Watson/The Signal
Dr. Abhisheck Sinah, MD, displays aortic valve as he enplanes the TAVR procedure with a model of a human heart during the press conference held in the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital education room in Valencia on Tuesday, 080321. Dan Watson/The Signal