Morning Mix


TAVR & WATCHMAN; Mercy Health discuss treatment options for Heart Valve Diseases

Posted at 12:35 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 12:41:29-05

More than 5 million Americans are diagnosed with heart valve disease each year. Fortunately thanks to medical advancements available at Mercy Health, there are plenty of treatment options so people can fight back against the various types of heart valve diseases.

Dr. Noah Thormeier, an Interventional Cardiologist, with Mercy Health Physician Partners West Shore Cardiology, talks about the different treatment options available for heart valve diseases.

Structural heart and valve disease is when people have problems with the structure of the heart and valves, resulting in the heart's function and cause a range of health problems. These problems can be congenital- present at birth- or they can develop over time.

When the valves of the heart don’t work properly, the heart can’t pump enough blood to the rest of the body. Sometimes, valves don’t open as they should, so blood can’t flow through the heart, or out into the rest of blood vessels in the body. In other cases, the valves don’t close properly, causing blood to leak or flow the wrong way.

Mercy Health Heart and Vascular has a couple of different treatment options so the heart can function properly and patients can continue living a healthy life.


Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is an alternative to open heart surgery. It is a minimally invasive procedure through which the diseased aortic valve can be replaced using a catheter technique. By utilizing this technique, a new valve can be delivered without the need for a sternotomy and invasive intra-thoracic surgery.

Some people with aortic valve disease may have other medical problems making it very difficult for them to safely undergo standard open surgical valve replacement. Anyone with severe aortic valve stenosis can be considered for TAVR, especially those individuals with other medical issues making it difficult for them to undergo standard open surgical valve replacement.


WATCHMAN is a minimally invasive, one-time procedure that reduces stroke risk in people with atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem. WATCHMAN fits into a part of your heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA). 90 percent of stroke-causing blood clots that come from the heart are formed in the LAA.

WATCHMAN permanently closes off this part of your heart to keep those blood clots from forming in the LAA.

WATCHMAN is a safe alternative to long-term warfarin therapy which offers comparable stroke risk reduction and enables patients to stop taking warfarin.

People qualify for WATCHMAN if:

· Atrial fibrillation is not caused by heart valve problems.

· They have elevated stroke risk.

· They are on or have been recommended to take blood-thinning medications.

To learn more about Heart & Vascular Services at Mercy Health, visit