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BGMC/GVI Selected to Participate in First TAVR World Tour to Recognize World Heart Day

Updated: 9/30/2020

Twenty heart valve specialists from fourteen countries to perform live synchronous transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedures

Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute (BGMC/GVI) was one of only four U.S. hospitals, and one of 20 hospitals representing 14 countries globally, selected to participate in a live one-hour synchronous transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure for the first ever TAVR World Tour hosted by India’s prestigious Heart Valve Center in recognition of World Heart Day on September 29, 2020. 

The TAVR World Tour brought together cardiac physicians from the world’s leading and highest volume TAVR centers to participate in the hour-long livestream event in which 20 patients with aortic stenosis, one of the most common forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD), simultaneously underwent TAVR. Vijay Iyer, MD, PhD, medical director of Cardiology and Structural Heart Interventions at Kaleida Health, performed the transfemoral procedure on a local Buffalo, NY man, 88-year-old veteran Deacon Bob, who suffers from severe aortic stenosis.  

TAVR is a minimally-invasive procedure in which an artificial aortic heart valve is attached to a wire frame and guided through the femoral artery by way of a catheter to the heart. Once the new valve is expanded, it pushes the old valve leaflets out of the way and the tissue in the replacement valve takes over the job of regulating blood flow.

As the first hospital to perform the lifesaving procedure on patients previously deemed inoperable in Western New York, BGMC/GVI is also one of the top 5-10% busiest TAVR centers in the U.S. with nearly 1,800 successful procedures completed since 2012.  

According to the most recent New York State Department of Health data, BGMC/GVI is the also highest volume facility for TAVR west of Albany, taking on the highest risk patients with the lowest mortality rate. GVI is an approved site for treatment of low risk patients through a research study. GVI offers TAVR to patients in all risk categories and is a participant in a number of cutting edge TAVR trials.

This year on World Heart Day, the focus was to stress the importance of caring for one’s heart health particularly now more than ever amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the time of COVID-19, patients with cardiovascular disease are faced with a double-edged threat. Not only are they more at risk of developing severe forms of the virus, but they may also be afraid to seek ongoing care for their hearts,” according to Iyer.
According to the World Heart Foundation, CVDs – including heart disease and stroke – are the number one cause of death worldwide, claiming over 17 million lives each year. 

“Cardiovascular disease has many causes – from smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, to air pollution, and other rare and often times neglected conditions such as Chagas Disease and cardiac amyloidosis – all of which can be exacerbated by COVID-19,” adds Iyer. “We’re hoping that by participating in this first ever TAVR World Tour event on World Heart Day, we can raise awareness about the importance of maintaining good heart health and promptly seeking medical care, particularly amid coronavirus. Our participation in the first ever TAVR World Tour is a mark of solidarity with healthcare professionals worldwide who are at the forefront of the pandemic. ”

The World Heart Foundation organizes World Heart Day on September 29 every year to spread awareness about CVDs, risk factors and preventative measures. 

For more information on the first ever TAVR World Tour, visit