TAVI Program

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TAVI Program


On February 28, Saskatchewan’s first three patients underwent Trans Catheter Aortic Valve Insertion (TAVI) procedures. Two had the procedure under general anesthetic, and one with local and conscious sedation.

This program was four years in development to its eventual approval by RQHR, Saskatoon Health Region, and the Ministry of Health. 

This program treats severe and moderate to severe aortic stenosis in those for whom standard cardiac surgery is contra-indicated. 

For those of you who have patients with aortic stenosis, please refer them to you referring cardiologist for evaluation of their suitability for an intervention. 

  • TAVI stands for Trans-aortic valve implantation and is a procedure where the aortic valve is replaced with a new valve without open-heart surgery.  The procedure takes on average 2-3 hours to complete and typical length of stay is 2-4 days with a goal of next day discharge, which takes place in other centers where this procedure has been performed for a longer period.  There are two basic approaches 1) through a vessel in a patient’s groin known as trans-femoral or 2) through a small incision in the chest or trans-apical.  The Saskatchewan TAVI Program will be offering the trans-femoral approach.
  • This is a provincial program designed to offer residents of SK the ability to correct an aortic valve problem (aortic valve stenosis) where previous medical and surgical treatment options including surgical replacement of the valve have been exhausted.
  • This program is an excellent example of collaboration between clinician and management leaders from both the Saskatoon Health Region and Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region to assist in the coordination of services to ensure care delivery is seamless throughout diagnosis, assessment, consent, treatment and follow- up.
  • There will be three cases performed in March.
  • Beginning in April we will perform two TAVI cases monthly.
  • The TAVI program is set to deliver of the following objectives:
    • Provide more timely access to evidenced based high quality care
    • Ensure provincial coordination of specialized tertiary cardiac services
    • Dual entry point to the program with a centralized database
    • Equitable access to the program for patients
    • Ensure comprehensive support for patients and their families
    • Provide access to standardized information and  education
    • Minimize the need for patients to travel out of the province for care

We commend the entire provincial TAVI team for their patients, persistence, and excellent planning in the implementation and commencement of this program.  Results of our outcomes will be made available annually.  Once the program has been firmly established here in Regina, and following Ministry approval to proceed, it will be replicated in Saskatoon.

Further innovations in the cardiac program will be announced in the next issue of the newsletter.