May 13, 2024 Jersey City Medical Center Performs Innovative Carotid Artery TAVR Procedure — Quicker Recovery, Less Risk

JCMC TAVR team -  Dr. Skelding, Dr. Singh, Dr. Benz

Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, is among few world-class facilities in the region to use a highly specialized approach for a cardiac procedure.

While the femoral approach is the most common way to access the heart for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), recent advancements have introduced alternative access sites. One such innovation is the carotid artery approach, a highly specialized technique where a catheter is inserted through the carotid artery in the neck.

“Traditionally, the femoral artery in the groin is the preferred access point for TAVR,” said Kimberly Skelding, MD, Division Chief of Cardiovascular Services at the Medical Center, which this year is marking its 20th anniversary at its Grand Street location. “However, some patients have blockages or other issues in this area that make this approach unsuitable. For these patients, the carotid artery access becomes a critical alternative.”

The innovative procedure was performed in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization laboratory on a patient with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis. Michael Benz, MD, Medical Director of the Structural Program in Hudson County at Jersey City Medical Center, along with Dr. Skelding and Deepak Singh, MD, the division Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Surgical Director of Advanced Heart Failure and Mechanical Circulatory Support at the Medical Center, performed the procedure. The patient went home within 48 hours and enjoyed a quick recovery with minimal discomfort — and lower overall risk of complications.

“Stroke is a potential complication associated with TAVR, and the carotid artery approach minimizes this risk, providing a safer option for high-risk patients who wouldn’t be candidates for traditional femoral access,” Dr. Skelding said.

TAVR is a minimally invasive surgery used to treat aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the aortic heart valve that restricts blood flow. Traditionally, this condition required open-heart surgery, which has a longer recovery time. Unlike conventional aortic valve replacement, which requires stopping the patient’s heart and using an artificial heart-lung machine while making a large incision through the breastbone, TAVR can be performed with the heart still beating.

The success of the carotid artery approach using TAVR highlights JCMC’s commitment to providing advanced cardiovascular care to Hudson County and area residents. This commitment has long been central to JCMC’s mission. In 2004, the rapidly expanding facility relocated to a 15-acre campus overlooking New York Harbor and Liberty State Park. The downtown location is convenient for mass transportation and has helped attract physicians, staff, and patients throughout Northern New Jersey and New York City.

By using advanced imaging technology and a multidisciplinary team approach, JCMC ensures that each TAVR procedure is performed with precision and care, minimizing risks, and maximizing patient comfort. TAVR offers an alternative for patients who may not be ideal candidates for open-heart surgery due to their age or underlying health conditions. This minimally invasive approach offers new hope for high-risk patients suffering from severe aortic stenosis, allowing them to experience a quicker recovery and a return to their daily activities sooner.

As Jersey City Medical Center celebrates its 20th anniversary at its Grand Street location, it remains dedicated to its mission of healing, enhancing, and investing in Hudson County. By offering innovative treatments like TAVR, the Medical Center expands the options available to patients, potentially improving their outcomes without traveling long distances.

View more information about TAVR or to find a cardiac surgeon.

About Jersey City Medical Center

Jersey City Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, is Healing, Enhancing, and Investing in Hudson County. It is a comprehensive full-service acute and sub-acute care 348-bed teaching hospital. A not-for-profit hospital, the Medical Center is a state-designated Level II Regional Trauma Center with close to 16,000 admissions and over 80,000 Emergency Department visits annually. The hospital specialty services include women’s health, orthopedics, heart and vascular care, and behavioral health. JCMC is the only full-service heart hospital in Hudson County, offering access to outstanding cardiologists and sophisticated and advanced treatments, such as cardiac surgery and Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacements (TAVR). RWJBarnabas Health and Jersey City Medical Center are in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. JCMC is an American Heart Association Gold Plus and DNV certified Primary Stroke Center. It is a regional comprehensive cardiac center, a perinatal intensive care center, a regional level 3 neonatal intensive care unit for critically ill newborns, and home to the most advanced robotic-assisted surgical program in Hudson County. JCMC, a provider of Advanced Life Support for Hudson County, runs 911 Medical Call Screening for Hudson County and operates one of the state’s busiest EMS systems.