Dr. Spriggs: I'm Douglas Spriggs. I'm an interventional cardiologist at Morton Plant Hospital and a member of the Valve Clinic Team.
Dr. Ofenloch: I'm Dr. John Ofenloch, cardiovascular surgeon and a member of the Valve Clinic Team at Morton Plant Hospital. The Valve Clinic is a multidisciplinary group of physicians that focus on a specific problem, and in this case, we focus on aortic stenosis.
The Valve Clinic is different because it's based in the hospital where we have access to all of the testing and all of the studies that have been performed for a patient, and we actually see the patients simultaneously. One of the cardiologists, and one of the surgeons interact with the patient simultaneously to perform the physical exam and the assessment.
Dr. Spriggs: For the transcatheter aortic valve therapy to be successful, selection is critical. In the Valve Clinic Team, we come from a variety of different disciplines, and so each of the various doctors brings a different skill set and clinical experience. The hope is that this will provide the best patient outcomes. In addition, we assess other characteristics of the patient, such as frailty, which is an important component about determining their eligibility for the procedure. So they are assessed also by the nursing staff to see if there are other characteristics that would make them a good candidate for this type of treatment.
Dr. Ofenloch: We work together in a series of structured meetings throughout the week where we review the cases that will be presented at Valve Clinic ahead of time. We meet in the Valve Clinic to evaluate the patients, and then we meet following the Valve Clinic to discuss the appropriateness of each patient for the different type of therapy, whether it's ongoing medical therapy, whether it's conventional, standard aortic valve replacement, or whether the patient is a candidate for the TAVR procedure.
The operating room has to be seamless, and the different disciplines have very specific, yet revolving roles within the procedure. We all have areas of expertise, and we use those areas of expertise in the operating room. We are learning from each other. We're crossing disciplines and learning the skills of the disciplines that we don't practice every day.
Dr. Spriggs: Patients interested in finding out more about the Valve Clinic Team and about the share care and transcatheter valve program can contact the Valve Clinic Coordinator directly through the provided telephone number.