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Billings Clinic becomes region’s first certified TAVR center

Posted at 2:40 PM, Sep 22, 2021

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) has recognized Billings Clinic for its demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients receiving potentially life-saving transcatheter valve repair and replacements. This includes transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) as well as transcatheter mitral and tricuspid valve procedures (MitraClip). Billings Clinic was awarded Transcatheter Valve Certification based on a comprehensive evaluation of the staff’s ability to meet standards for multidisciplinary teams, formalized training, shared decision-making and registry performance.

This certification makes Billings Clinic the first and only certified center for transcatheter valve interventions in a wide region that includes Montana, Wyoming, the western Dakotas and Idaho.

“Being honored as our region’s first accredited valve center is a testament to the tremendous hard work, dedication and focus on safety from the entire team here at Billings Clinic,” said Per Sommer, MD, Billings Clinic interventional cardiologist and valve center program medical director. “Our program gives the people and communities we serve access to world-class care, and this certification both reinforces that and serves as motivation for us to not only maintain that level of care, but continue to work to enhance the care we provide.”

The minimally invasive TAVR or MitraClip procedure allows Billings Clinic’s specialized, multi-disciplinary team to treat people with aortic, mitral or tricuspid valve disease as alternative to open heart surgery. Aortic valve stenosis is a serious heart condition involving a narrowing of the aortic valve opening that prevents normal blood flow. This can result in chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue and has high mortality rates and a shortened life expectancy in people who develop symptoms. Mitral valve regurgitation is another serious condition that is underdiagnosed and fairly common in patients who suffer from congestive heart failure. This therapy has been shown in the heart failure population to reduce the risk for death, heart failure admissions and heart failure symptoms.

Since performing its first procedure in the spring of 2016, Billings Clinic has become the highest volume TAVR program in the region and recently completed its 400th TAVR procedure.

“Many patients may not have other options when it comes to potentially life-saving heart care,” said Brett Oestreich, MD, Billings Clinic interventional cardiologist. “TAVR can change that for them. Our entire team works to ensure successful outcomes for our patients so that they can continue to live their lives in the ways they want. This certification is the product of that commitment.”

The ACC’s Transcatheter Valve Certification is an external review and certification process that pairs with established national clinical databases to monitor patient safety and real-world outcomes related to transcatheter valve therapies. Participation in established national clinical databases such as the STS/ACC TVT Registry is required for hospitals interested in achieving Transcatheter Valve Certification.

“Billings Clinic has demonstrated its commitment to providing Montana and Wyoming with excellent heart care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, FACC, chair of the ACC Accreditation Management Board. “ACC Accreditation Services is proud to award Billings Clinic with Transcatheter Valve Certification.”

The certification uses established national clinical measures to support clinical decisions and links process improvement to patient outcomes. Hospitals that achieve Transcatheter Valve Certification learn best practices for implementing evidence-based medicine to support patient-centered decision-making and can track key performance metrics to better identify opportunities for improvement.

The ACC offers U.S. and international hospitals like Billings Clinic access to a comprehensive suite of cardiac accreditation services designed to optimize patient outcomes and improve hospital financial performance. These services are focused on all aspects of cardiac care, including transcatheter valve therapies.

For more information on TAVR, MitraClip and heart care services at Billings Clinic, visit www.billingsclinic.com/tavr or call (406) 238-2500.