Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute Celebrates 100th TAVR Milestone 

Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute (BHVI) performed its 100th Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure on Oct. 4 and two additional TAVR procedures were also completed on the same day. The TAVR team hosted a celebration of this milestone to honor the more than 100 patients on Nov. 7. 

This is significant because this life saving procedure may be the only hope for patients considered too high risk for traditional open heart surgery. This is a tremendous milestone for BHVI and a great benefit to the people in the Northwest Florida area who need this level of advanced care. 

Reaching this milestone is a testament to the teamwork and dedication of our team at Baptist Hospital, says Luther I. Carter, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, interventional cardiologist. The 100th TAVR was performed on a 90-year-old individual who was too high risk for standard treatment. The patient was up and walking six hours after the procedure and was discharged the following day in great spirits and without any shortness of breath symptoms. This leading edge technology and service is something we are all proud of, and I appreciate every team member involved in developing our successful structural heart program. 

TAVR is saving people and improving the quality of life for patients who otherwise had no options. BHVI is the first team of cardiovascular specialists in the Florida Panhandle and one of the select programs in the nation to offer TAVR for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not candidates for traditional open heart surgery.

“In experienced hands, TAVR has been shown to be lower risk than surgical replacement in elderly patients, says F. James Fleischhauer, M.D., FACC, interventional cardiologist. TAVR is a state-of-the-art treatment for aortic valve disease that is approved for moderate risk, high risk, inoperable patients and for those who have a preexisting surgical valve who warrant replacement. Our pioneering experience with this procedure in our community allows us to best decide what treatment is optimal for every patient with aortic valve disease.”

Aortic stenosis is a thickening of the aortic valve opening that restricts normal blood flow to the entire body. Patients who suffer from aortic stenosis often experience symptoms that can restrict normal day-to-day activities, such as walking short distances or climbing stairs, due to shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain or fatigue. Severe aortic stenosis is a serious problem. If left untreated and not repaired it is potentially fatal. Studies indicate that 50 percent of severe aortic stenosis patients will not survive more than an average of two years after the onset of symptoms.

The multidisciplinary TAVR team at BHVI includes board certified interventional cardiologists and highly skilled cardiothoracic surgeons.

Having successfully completed more than 100 TAVRs, our team is the areas most experienced in providing this procedure, says Saurabh Sanon, M.D., FACC, interventional cardiologist. We were first to introduce TAVR without general anesthesia to the region. This high level of care places us on the map with other select elite cardiac institutes in the U.S., and allows our patients to receive world-class heart valve care right here at home in Pensacola.

To make an appointment with the physicians of BHVI, call at 850.484.6500 or visit to learn more about the many innovative cardiovascular procedures offered.