Innovative, Collaborative Care for Structural Heart Disease

Structural heart diseases are defects in the heart’s valves, wall or chambers. These diseases can be present from birth or develop with age.

The Valve and Structural Heart Program at the Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute provides innovative, collaborative care for patients with advanced and complex structural heart disease. Our program specializes in interventional treatments and our multidisciplinary team offers comprehensive care from evaluation to treatment.

Previously, open heart surgery was the only intervention to treat structural heart disease. However, with advances in technology, we are now able to offer patients who are at high or intermediate risk for surgery other options to treat their heart disease, using a catheter-based procedure without general anesthesia.

Our cutting-edge cardiac research brings new techniques and treatments directly from the lab to the patient. Since 2012, we have performed more than 500 transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures; since 2016, we have performed more than 50 procedures using the MitraClip device; and since 2017, we have performed more than 100 implants using the Watchman device.

At the Valve and Structural Heart Program, our team of experts is experienced in these innovative catheter-enabled procedures. We frequently take part in ongoing clinical trials, including the TAVR low-risk trial and Bicuspid trial.

Achieving a Milestone

The Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute’s Valve and Structural Heart Program reached a significant milestone on May 29, 2018, completing its 500th transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

It was a proud moment for the team, including founding members Frank Sellke, MD, chief of cardiothoracic surgery; Paul Gordon, MD, interventional cardiologist; and Barry L. Sharaf, MD, interventional cardiologist, as well as Nancy Kelly, RN, valve coordinator for the structural heart program. The TAVR team also includes Afshin Ehsan, MD, and Neel R. Sodha, MD, cardiothoracic surgeons; Philip G. Haines, MD, and Athena Poppas, MD, cardiologists; several cardiac anesthesiologists; and Leslie Kenney, NP.

In November 2011, the FDA approved TAVR for use in inoperable patients. Just months later, on March 20, 2012, a multidisciplinary team of Lifespan physicians performed the LCVI’s first TAVR procedure. Fourteen patients underwent TAVR in the program’s first year. By 2017, 145 patients—an average of three a week—had valves replaced using the lifesaving procedure.

Achieving the TAVR milestone is yet another example of Lifespan leading the way with innovative, minimally invasive procedures that give patients a new lease on life. 

Research and Clinical Trials for Heart Disease

Several clinical trials are currently open. Search trials now:

Learn more about Lifespan's clinical trials »

Back to All Locations


Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute, Rhode Island Hospital
Main Building/Zecchino Pavilion
593 Eddy Street
Providence, RI 02903
593 Eddy Street
Providence, RI 02903