St. Francis-Emory Healthcare Begins to Use New Minimally Invasive Valve Replacement Technology

October 13, 2020

Vik Chhokar, MD

St. Francis-Emory Healthcare is proud to announce that the St. Francis Structural Heart and Valve Center is now open and offering various procedures treating heart valves. Procedures include mitral valve repair, mitral valve replacement (MVR), tricuspid valve repair and tricuspid valve replacement (TVR), surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR), and in the near future transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). The Structural Heart and Valve Center is being led by a team of cardiothoracic surgeons and interventional cardiologists.

“For more than 45 years, St. Francis has served as the community’s heart hospital beginning when local physicians developed the area's first cardiac surgery program,” says Melody Trimble, chief executive officer of St. Francis. “This center is another milestone in our comprehensive cardiac program and something we are very thankful to provide the Chattahoochee Valley.”

The Structural Heart and Valve Center team consists of cardiologist Vik Chhokar, MD, cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Jacob Davtyan, MD and cardiologist Akram Ibrahim, MD. The team’s multidisciplinary approach allows providers to develop individualized care to provide patients with high quality, comprehensive cardiovascular care. The program helps to ensure patients are able to stay in Columbus rather than travel elsewhere for these procedures. 

Jacob Davtyan, MD

“Structural heart disease affects millions of people across the world. I am so excited that we are strengthening our mission of Making Communities Healthier through this new cardiac service,” says Jacob Davtyan, MD, assistant professor of surgery at Emory University and medical director for cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at St. Francis.

Emory Healthcare and St. Francis have worked together in Columbus since 2003, when they began a cardiac services affiliation that aligned St. Francis’ electrophysiology program with Emory’s program. The heart/vascular relationship was strengthened in 2016 following LifePoint’s acquisition of St. Francis, when Emory began to manage the hospital’s cardiothoracic surgery services. In 2017, St. Francis became a member of the Emory Healthcare Regional Affiliate Network, and in 2019, the local physician community in Columbus was offered participation in the Emory Healthcare Network, Emory’s clinically integrated network through St. Francis. Earlier this year, St. Francis became the first hospital owned by the newly formed joint venture between LifePoint Health and Emory Healthcare.

Akram Ibrahim, MD

St. Francis is the region’s premier resource for the diagnosis and treatment of heart diseases, providing numerous cardiac services, including open heart surgery, cardiac catheterization, coronary artery bypass grafting, valve repair and replacement, aortic aneurysm repair, and electrophysiology services.

To learn more about the Structural Heart and Valve Center, call 706-320-3128.