Wesley Healthcare
October 03, 2017

WICHITA –Wesley Healthcare is relaunching its much-heralded Structural Heart Program starting with the catheter based aortic valve replacement or TAVR, led by Zaher Fanari, MD, and a stellar team of heart experts. TAVR, also known as TAVI or transcatheter aortic valve implantation, is a life-saving surgery that provides an effective solution for patients who can’t undergo open-heart surgery.

Dr. Fanari is an interventional cardiologist with Heartland Cardiology and medical director of Wesley’s Structural Heart Program.  

TAVR treats severe aortic stenosis which limits forward flow of blood from the heart and causes it to back into the lungs, resulting in extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. Treatment for aortic stenosis depends on how far the disease has progressed. If the stenosis is mild, medication may be prescribed. However, as the stenosis gets worse, the diseased aortic valve may need to be replaced. More than five million people are diagnosed with heart valve disease each year.

“There are few times in medicine when we develop truly game-changing techniques and technology that significantly improve a patient’s quality and quantity of life,” Dr. Fanari said. “This procedure is one of those examples. It is incredibly exciting to be able to improve people’s chances for survival, particularly when they previously had no other option.”

In TAVR, Wesley’s skilled team inserts a new valve through a catheter placed in a vein in the groin. TAVR is a much less invasive procedure than open-heart surgery and provides a solution for patients who cannot tolerate open-heart surgery. Dr. Fanari said patients can typically return home within three days of the valve replacement and go back to normal activities within a week. 

Wesley was selected as a TAVR site in 2013 after meeting stringent criteria established by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The TAVR procedure is just one of several procedures offered by Wesley’s Structural Heart Program. Other procedures include fixing other valve disorders, including mitral, tricuspid and pulmonic valves with catheter-based procedures. In addition to catheter-based closure of many congenital defects.

“You need very special expertise and a system in place to perform these procedures,” Dr. Fanari said. “I am excited to help relaunch this program because of the breadth of communities served by Wesley, the advanced and nationally recognized skills of our general and interventional cardiologists, the expertise of our surgeons, the significant number of aortic valve replacements they perform and the capacity of Wesley to administer this program.”