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New cardiac procedure has better outcomes

Mayank Agrawal, MD
TAVR is a complete paradigm shift in the treatment of aortic valve disease and said to be a cardiology equivalent of landing a man on the moon.
Mayank Agrawal, MD

‘Tis the season to be grateful for loved ones near and far. At Kalispell Regional Medical Center (KRMC), 10 patients are especially appreciative for their improved health this holiday season.

In early November, KRMC cardiologist Mayank Agrawal, MD, and cardiac surgeon Drew Kirshner, MD, successfully performed KRMC's first-ever transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure. This modern procedure is a less invasive method when compared to open heart surgery and allows for better outcomes in high-risk patients and a speedier recovery."

TAVR is an innovative procedure that allows people who would not be candidates for traditional open heart surgery to have treatment for their aortic valve," Dr. Kirshner explained.

Using no surgical incisions, doctors insert a wire through the femoral artery in the groin. "It is a wonderful procedure in terms of you can have your aortic valve treated and not go through surgery," Dr. Kirshner said.

Patients Douglas Ren and Poul Holberg, both Flathead Valley residents, were the first recipients of a heart valve replacement using the TAVR method and were pleasantly surprised with the swift recovery time. After the procedure, they were only in the hospital for two to three days each.

Ren (pictured with his nurse) recalls how weary he was feeling before the operation. "You know, I don't think I would’ve made it much longer because I was really getting down," said Ren, who has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Now Ren is back on his feet and even thankful for the capacity to shovel leaves and snow again.

Dr. Agrawal and Dr. Kirshner were pleased to see both patients improving quickly. Dr. Agrawal completed approximately 150 of these procedures in the Seattle area before sharing his skills with the Flathead Valley community, and can testify to the advancements in heart surgery and the benefits to patients.

“TAVR is a complete paradigm shift in the treatment of aortic valve disease and said to be a cardiology equivalent of landing a man on the moon,” said Dr. Agrawal, who is thrilled about recent procedures performed at KRMC.

Holberg had a quick recovery too, and when interviewed after his TAVR procedure, his spirits were high and energetic. In fact, the thing he was most looking forward to during the holidays was enjoying a glass of red wine with his family at home, compared to undergoing a rigorous rehab exercise regimen.

Thanks to KRMC's cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and team of TAVR specialists, Kalispell Regional Healthcare is able to offer this new procedure to the Flathead Valley area and extended communities.

Learn more about the TAVR procedure by watching the video below.

Changing lives through philanthropy

The TAVR procedure is a new addition at Kalispell Regional Medical Center thanks to a generous $1 million donation for the new hybrid operating room from James and CK Coles.

Philanthropy gives our community the latest lifesaving equipment, improved facilities and access to highly trained medical professionals. Philanthropic support assures the tradition of excellent health care will continue for our patients and their families for future generations.

When you contribute to the Kalispell Regional Healthcare Foundation, you have a unique opportunity to make a direct impact on the delivery of health care in our community.