CHI Health Nebraska Heart has completed more than 400 TAVR procedures – the most in the state of Nebraska, and is the only TAVR research site in Nebraska.

Aortic Stenosis

Up to 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from aortic stenosis, a progressive disease that affects the aortic valve of their hearts. Approximately 250,000 of these patients suffer from severe symptomatic aortic stenosis, often developing debilitating symptoms that can restrict normal day-to-day activities such as waling short distances or climbing stairs.

Patients with severe aortic stenosis may experience debilitating symptoms such as:

  • Severe shortness of breath leading to gasping even at rest
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Fainting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Difficulty exercise
  • Rapid or irregular heart beat

Diagnosis of Aortic Stenosis

Identification of severe aortic stenosis is done by examining the heart and listening for a heart murmur, which is typical of the disease. This can be confirmed by using imaging tests such as an echocardiogram. Receiving an appropriated diagnosis and getting treated quickly is critical, as once patients begin exhibiting symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and can be life-threatening.

TAVR – Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

For patients who have been deemed intermediate risk or greater for traditional open-heart surgery by a surgeon, an innovative procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is now available as a treatment option.

Candidates for TAVR

Patients who have severe aortic stenosis and have one or more of the following may be a candidate for TAVR:

  • Advanced age
  • Previous radiation to the chest
  • Frailty or debility
  • COPD
  • Heart Failure or Inotropic Therapy
  • Previous sternotomy
  • Porcelain aorta
  • Renal insufficiency
  • Immunosuppresssion
  • Other significant comorbidities

Nebraska Heart Valve Team

The partnership between cardiac surgeon, interventional cardiologist, anesthesiologist and echocardiographer establishes the core of the TAVR heart team. This team of specialists from various disciplines work together to ensure optimal patient outcomes. This multi-disciplinary approach to patient care is essential to TAVR, as each specialist contributes an important area of expertise that plays an integral role in the collective care process.

As the first hospital in Nebraska to offer the TAVR therapy, members of the Heart Valve Team have participated in a rigorous training program designed to ensure that the TAVR technology is utilized by skilled operators, so that optimal patient outcomes are achieved.

If you feel that you may be a candidate for the TAVR procedure, please talk with your primary care physician about the breakthrough TAVR treatment available at Nebraska Heart. You may also contact Nebraska Heart’s TAVR Coordinator at (402) 328-3881.

Potential candidates will be evaluated by a joint team of cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, nurses and technologists.

Paul Bajwa, MD


Sagar Damle, MD

Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery

Omar Nass, MD


Joseph Petty, MD


James Wudel, MD

Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery