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Winchester Medical Center Completes Area's First TAVR Heart Valve Replacement In New "Hybrid Room"

Winchester Medical Center Completes Area's First TAVR Heart Valve Replacement In New "Hybrid Room"

Valley Health’s Heart & Vascular Center at Winchester Medical Center has opened a new state-of-the-art surgical suite, or “hybrid room,” and completed its first minimally invasive heart valve replacement known as TAVR. The regional medical center is one of only 5-10% of hospitals nationwide able to offer these treatments.

The hybrid room combines the best features of a cardiac catheterization lab and operating room to offer a large, well-equipped space for trans-catheter aortic and mitral valve replacement (TAVR and TMVR) and other complex procedures. The minimally-invasive repair and replacement techniques result in shorter hospital stays, less pain and a quicker recovery, offer an excellent treatment alternative for more frail or older, higher risk patients.

WMC’s new Advanced Valve and Aortic Center (AVAC) was launched earlier this year after Houston cardiothoracic surgeon Basel Ramlawi, MD, one of the most experienced TAVR surgeons in the country, arrived in Winchester to head the program. Over the last six months Dr. Ramlawi has led the final planning for the AVAC, including coordination of its multidisciplinary team, construction and equipment upgrades, protocols and specialized training, patient education and referral outreach.

The first two patients--a 95-year-old woman from Woodstock, Va., and an 88-year-old man from Winchester, Va.--were both considered high risk for open surgical aortic valve replacement. One hour after their 90-minute procedure was completed, both patients were in good spirits, joking with family and discussing plans for the weekend. “This is the norm for many heart procedures these days,” Dr. Ramlawi said. “Patients receive a complete repair of a significant heart problem, with less pain and quicker recovery, even at 95 years of age!”

In addition to the new hybrid room and new minimally invasive surgical capabilities such as TAVR, the Advanced Valve & Aortic Center offers advanced diagnostic imaging for patient evaluations, medical management of heart valve disease, second opinion services, and coordination with a patient’s primary physician. The center’s team includes co-director Omar Ali, MD, interventional cardiologist; Edward Kofsky, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon; Jason Call, MD, interventional cardiologist; Ajay Virmani, MD, interventional cardiologist; and Debbie Myers, DNP, program coordinator.

“We are excited to offer the most comprehensive services to evaluate and treat complex heart valve and aortic problems in a very patient-focused environment,” said Grady W. “Skip” Philips, III, senior vice president of Valley Health System and president of Winchester Medical Center. “Dr. Ramlawi’s technical expertise and leadership, the commitment of our Heart & Vascular physician leaders and clinical team, and collaboration of specialists in anesthesiology, radiology and critical care, have enabled us to mobilize a phenomenal service. Area residents will not find a more convenient, comprehensive program committed to superior outcomes than right here at the Valley Health Heart & Vascular Center at Winchester Medical Center.”

Patients and providers interested in knowing more may call the Advanced Valve & Aortic Center at 540-536-4000, or email