TAVR - Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute First Provider in Northwest Florida

The Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute is the first team of cardiovascular specialists in the Florida Panhandle and one of the select programs in the nation to offer Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement or (TAVR) – a revolutionary new treatment option for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are not candidates for traditional open heart surgery.

Aortic stenosis is a thickening of the aortic valve opening that restricts normal blood flow to the entire body. Patients who suffer from aortic stenosis often experience symptoms that can restrict normal day-to-day activities, such as walking short distances or climbing stairs, due to shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain or fatigue. Severe aortic stenosis is a serious problem. If left untreated and not repaired it is potentially fatal. Studies indicate that 50 percent of severe aortic stenosis patients will not survive more than an average of two years after the onset of symptoms.

“Until now, the only treatment for severe aortic stenosis has been open aortic valve replacement – a type of open heart surgery to replace the affected valve with a donor valve. However, if you are too ill or not a candidate for open-heart surgery and medicines are not easing your symptoms, we are now able to use the minimally invasive TAVR procedure to implant a new valve through a catheter, making only a small incision in the groin or chest. This revolutionizes care for patients, making relief more accessible to patients who would otherwise have no options,” explains F. James Fleischhauer, M.D., FACC, a board certified interventional cardiologist who performed one of the first TAVR procedures at Baptist Hospital in March 2014 along with interventional cardiologist Luther Carter, M.D., FACC, FSCAI; and cardiothoracic surgeons James Nielsen, M.D., FACS, and William Bailey, M.D., FACS, all of Cardiology Consultants.

The multidisciplinary TAVR team at the Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute is unique to our area due to its size and collaborative experience. Board certified interventional cardiologists partner with a highly skilled cardiothoracic surgeons to complete the procedure using the Edwards SAPIEN Valve – the first transcatheter aortic valve approved by the FDA for use in the U.S.

“Bringing TAVR to Northwest Florida is just one example of the many advanced treatment options and innovations available at Baptist that can’t be found anywhere else in our area,” confirms Dr. Nielsen.


To make an appointment with the physicians of the Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute, please call the Cardiology Consultants office at 850.484.6500 or visit eBaptistHealthCare.org/Heart to learn more about the many innovative cardiovascular procedures offered.