Health & Wellness

Medical Associates Reaches Milestone in Innovative Heart Procedures at MercyOne

Medical Associates and MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center have successfully performed their 250th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure. In 2019, Medical Associates and MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center became the first providers in Dubuque and the tri-state area to successfully perform TAVR, a minimally invasive and life-saving aortic valve replacement technique that provides an alternative to open-heart surgery for patients diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis (AS).

Traditionally, valve replacement required open-heart surgery, where the chest bone is surgically separated to access the heart. Patients at high risk for open-heart surgery often refused the surgery or were deemed inoperable. TAVR now offers a new treatment option for patients at high, intermediate, or low risk of having traditional valve replacement.

During a TAVR procedure, a balloon-expandable bioprosthetic aortic heart valve is delivered via a catheter through a small incision in the groin. Once the new valve is in place and expanded, it pushes the old valve out of the way and takes over the job of regulating blood flow.

Medical Associates uses the Edwards SAPIEN 3 transcatheter aortic valve, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015 for the treatment of patients with severe, symptomatic AS who are at high or greater risk for open-heart surgery. In 2016, the SAPIEN 3 valve was approved for an expansion to include patients at intermediate risk for open-heart surgery. The FDA most recently approved TAVR for low-risk patients on Aug. 16, 2019.

“We are excited to achieve a significant milestone for this life-saving procedure, which helps patients right here in Dubuque who would otherwise have to travel or only receive medical management,” said R.S. Ramabadran, MD, cardiologist at Medical Associates.

The core of the TAVR Team at Medical Associates includes cardiologists Rami Eltibi, MD, and R.S. Ramabadran, MD, and cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Lance Bezzina, DO. This team is assisted by experienced anesthesiologists, nurses, and staff at MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center.

For more information about the TAVR procedure, visit

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