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Cardiologists perform first transcatheter tricuspid valve replacement procedure

UC Davis Medical Center is first hospital in the Sacramento region to perform minimally invasive procedure


Cardiologists at UC Davis Medical Center recently completed their first transcatheter tricuspid valve replacement (TTVR) procedure, becoming the first hospital in the Sacramento region to perform the minimally invasive treatment.

The TTVR procedure was performed as part of a clinical trial. It treats tricuspid regurgitation, a condition where the tricuspid valve of the heart fails to close completely. This problem can allow blood to leak backward into the atrium from the leaky tricuspid valve, causing the patient’s heart to pump harder to move blood through the valve.

Tricuspid regurgitation currently affects an estimated 1.6 million Americans. Symptoms include active pulsing in the neck veins, enlarged liver, fatigue and swelling throughout the body.

Current nonsurgical treatments for tricuspid regurgitation include diuretics (medicines that help remove excess fluid and salt) and drugs aimed at treatment of the symptoms only. Left untreated, tricuspid regurgitation can lead to atrial fibrillation, heart failure, kidney disease and even death.

“Patients diagnosed with tricuspid regurgitation unfortunately have a relatively high mortality when treated with medications alone,” said Gagan D. Singh, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine, who performed the TTVR procedure. “Open heart surgery for these patients is high risk and has typically been associated with poor outcomes and has typically been avoided. This procedure offers a new option for patients in the Sacramento area.”

A minimally invasive valve replacement

Singh and members of the Structural Heart Team replaced the valve using a catheter inserted through the major vein of the leg. The valve replacement system is placed through a minimally invasive transcatheter-based procedure.

The patient was up and walking within four to six hours and then discharged from the hospital 48 hours after the procedure.

“Dr. Singh and our entire cardiovascular medicine team have been instrumental in bringing impactful structural heart trials to UC Davis to develop life changing solutions for some of our most complex patients,” said Thomas Smith, chief of cardiovascular medicine. “Efforts like this are an example of the power of our multidisciplinary teams, where we are aiming to deliver optimal outcomes for our patients.”

Singh and his colleagues will monitor participants of the TTVR clinical trial for five years.

Clinical Trials at UC Davis