UnityPoint celebrates 600th person to get valve replacement in QC

UnityPoint Health is celebrating its 600th person to successfully receive a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) in the Quad Cities. 

The 600th procedure was performed by Dr. Param Singh, Cardiovascular Medicine, PLLC, on Jan. 15. 

The procedure was first offered by UnityPoint Health – Trinity in 2016. Since then, its TAVR program has gone on to earn a three-star TAVR rating for high-quality outcomes from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons/American College of Cardiology (STS/ACC TVT Registry.) A three-star rating is the highest possible quality rating. UnityPoint Health – Trinity is the only site in Illinois to earn the highest achievement.

“As the Quad Cities’ premier heart care center, taking care of your heart is what we do best,” Kathy Pulley, director of cardiology services at UnityPoint Health – Trinity, said in a news release announcing the patient milestone. “Heart disease remains the community’s top health issue and we’re here to help, this milestone shines as an example of the quality care we deliver at Trinity Heart Center.”  

TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat severe aortic stenosis, a common type of heart valve disease. The procedure restores healthy blood flow by replacing a diseased aortic valve with an artificial one.

“Severe aortic stenosis is a common heart condition amongst elderly population in our community. Traditionally, they could only be treated with open heart surgery. However, replacing this valve with the novel procedure of TAVR is a real blessing for these patients,” Dr. Singh said in the release.

Marsha Frary is one of the 600 people to receive a successful TAVR procedure at UnityPoint Health Rock Island. The 68-year-old had struggled with dizziness and difficulty breathing. In December 2023, Ms. Frary suddenly got dizzy at her Davenport home. She remembers taking a few steps and waking up to blood on the floor from hitting her mouth. Ms. Frary’s husband took her to the emergency department at UnityPoint Health Bettendorf where tests uncovered a problem with her aortic valve.

“My cardiologist said the opening of my aortic valve was the size of a pinhead. He said it was one of the worst he’s seen in 15 years,” she said in the release.

Just days after being admitted to the emergency department, Ms. Frary underwent a TAVR procedure. She says the staff at Trinity Heart Center made her feel comfortable and calm before and after the procedure. Ms. Frary says recovery has been amazing. She’s now able to walk 18 minutes on the treadmill, up from five minutes after the procedure.

“I feel incredible – this procedure saved my life. My cardiologist said if I had not taken care of my valve, I would have been lucky to live another two years,” said Ms. Frary. “I can now walk and talk at the same time, something I struggled with for years. I also have new goal – I’ve always wanted to do a 5k and this June, I plan to take part in the Quad Cities Heart Walk.”

TAVR procedures also are performed by Dr. Bouyella Reddy, Cardiovascular Medicine, PLLC. They are performed in the state-of-the-art cardiac cath lab hybrid operating room suite at UnityPoint Health’s Rock Island hospital. 

Patients with severe aortic stenosis must qualify for TAVR based on the structural heart team evaluating them for any combination of comorbidities, frailty and/or organ system compromises. These are guidelines set forth by CMS and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

“The major advantage is the short recovery period as most people go home the very next day. It is extremely gratifying to see these patients lead a healthy, symptom-free life,” said Dr. Singh. “Trinity Heart Center in Rock Island has all the technology, expertise and support to perform these procedures and treat these patients with respect and compassion.”

To make an appointment or for more information, call (309) 779-3140 or visit unitypoint.org.

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