For the first time in the state of North Carolina, the structural heart team at UNC Hospitals has performed a transcatheter tricuspid valve replacement in the clinical setting. The implant, which was only the 12th in the United States, is a revolutionary treatment for patients living with tricuspid valve regurgitation (TR), a common type of heart valve disease.

(Left to Right) Thelsa Thomas Weickert, MD; Matthew A. Cavender, MD, MPH, FACC;
John Vavalle, MD, MHS, FACC; and John S. Ikonomidis, MD, PhD.(image credit: UNC Health)

“We now have a percutaneous, minimally invasive way to fix tricuspid valve regurgitation and offer valve replacement without the need for open heart surgery,” said John Vavalle, MD, MHS, FACC, medical director of the Structural Heart Disease Program at UNC Hospitals and associate professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. “It’s only at a place like UNC, where there is this spirit of collaboration and this desire to push the technology forward, that you can do this kind of work.”

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