SGMC launches structural cardiology clinic

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The Cardiac Program at South Georgia Medical Center achieved another milestone for the region, performing the first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) on May 23, 2022. TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure that replaces a dysfunctional aortic valve without requiring open-heart surgery.

This procedure is the result of a focused approach by SGMC’s medical leadership to better understand and treat heart valve conditions. Patients with heart valve problems can now be seen at the SGMC Structural Cardiology Clinic. The clinic is led by Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Randall Brown, Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Luke Seibolt and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Kelly Blackmon, who is also the Valve Clinic Coordinator.

“If a patient’s heart valve isn’t working properly, blood flow from the heart to the body is reduced,” Dr. Seibolt said. “TAVR is an alternative to open-heart surgery, which can help restore blood flow and reduce the signs and symptoms of a malfunctioning valve.”

Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, and fatigue.

Dr. Seibolt joined SGMC in July 2021 after completing TAVR training at Ascension St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indiana, performing 81 TAVRs last year.

As with other minimally invasive procedures, the benefits include a smaller incision, lower risk of complications, less time spent in the hospital, and faster overall healing.

TAVR may be an option for people with severe aortic valve stenosis who do not want open-heart surgery or who are at high risk of complications with open-heart surgery. Other conditions treated by the Structural Heart Clinic include aortic valve stenosis, mitral valve regurgitation, patent foramen ovale, and atrial septal defect.

“Launching the Structural Heart Clinic was a real team effort by our cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, surgical teams and imaging specialists. We believe that collaborative care and cutting-edge treatments lead to better outcomes for our patients,” said Dr. Brown.

The SGMC offers the only open-heart program, a structural cardiology clinic and an electrophysiology program in the region. To learn more about SGMC’s cardiac and vascular programs, visit sgmc.org.

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