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For patients too frail to undergo open-heart surgery, a minimally invasive procedure known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, repairs the damaged valve instead of replacing it. Doctors usually access the heart through the groin or ribs, but that wasn’t an option for patient Carl Danielson. Instead, Danielson became the first patient in Connecticut to have TAVR performed via the carotid artery.
“It pushes the envelope,” says his surgeon, Hartford Hospital’s Dr. Robert Hagberg. “It pushes us to explore things we might not have thought about before. It’s medicine that takes care of patients in a better way.”
A French registry study last year suggested this method is not only less challenging for patients who are poor candidates for conventional TAVR but also for surgeons because the “approach to the carotid artery is relatively uncomplicated due to its superficial location, and operative experience with the carotid arteries is widely available among cardiovascular surgeons.”