The UNC Medical Center Structural Heart program began in late 2014 and now offers comprehensive treatment for patients with valvular heart disease. This includes TAVR, MitraClip, surgical valve repair or replacement, percutaneous valvuloplasty, and other innovative transcatheter devices available through participation in clinical trials. This multidisciplinary group, including interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurses, staff the UNC Heart Valve clinic weekly at UNC Hospital. The goal of the heart team is to provide exceptional individualized care for each patient with the goal of enhancing their quality of life. This UNC group was the first site to use the suprasternal approach to TAVR in the United States, which is an alternate access method used for specific patients. Most patients with a leaky valve or stiffened valve cannot walk to the mailbox without losing their breath, or have increasing exercise intolerance due to their heart disease. But after treatment, many are back mowing their lawn, spending time with their families, and living the life they want to live. The group recently celebrated their achievements with their patients in their inaugural UNC Structural Heart Patient Reunion in March 2016.
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