Fort Walton Beach, FL — Fort Walton Beach Medical Center (FWBMC) announced today its successful completion of two TAVR, or transcatheter aortic valve replacement, patient procedures. FWBMC is the first and only hospital in the tri-county area to offer this advanced, minimally invasive heart procedure. The TAVR procedure replaces a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly, known as aortic valve stenosis. Aortic valve stenosis — or aortic stenosis — prevents the heart valve from opening fully, which limits blood flow in a patient body, resulting in the need for aortic valve repair.

"In the past, a patient would need open-heart surgery to repair an aortic valve — that is no longer needed with the TAVR procedure. With the addition of TAVR to FWBMC, patients in need will have a less invasive option which provides a quicker recovery," stated Mitch Mongell, CEO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. "We are always striving to offer the safest and best options to improve the health of our area residents. Adding TAVR is just one example of the commitment of our colleagues to provide the highest-quality care at FWBMC."

The first two patients underwent the TAVR procedure on October 29, 2020. The TAVR procedure typically takes approximately 1 to 2 hours, and most patients go home the next day.

"The astounding thing to me is, you can have your aortic valve replaced in your heart and go home the next day. I was just amazed at that," shared Johnny Ward, FWBMC's first TAVR patient. "I am thankful for the procedure and the fact they did not have to open my chest. And the hospital — it's as good as you can get."