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The Hands of Experience® in Advanced Health Care

Heart Valve Clinic

In the past, patients with heart valve problems have visited a cardiologist and then, if necessary, have been referred to a cardiovascular surgeon for treatment.

Now, the St. Mary’s Regional Heart Institute is streamlining the process by combining the expertise of its cardiovascular and thoracic surgeons and cardiologists through the St. Mary’s Heart Valve Clinic—the first of its kind in the Tri-State.

The Heart Valve Clinic team:

Nepal C. Chowdhury, MD Nepal C. Chowdhury, MD,
St. Mary’s cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon

Mohi Mitiek, MD Mohi Mitiek, MD,
St. Mary’s cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon


Mark A. Studeny, MD Mark A. Studeny, MD,
University cardiologist

Daniel Snavely, MD Daniel Snavely, MD,
HIMG cardiologist


Brooke Leaberry, DNP, WHNP-BC, RND Brooke Leaberry, DNP, WHNP-BC, RN,
St. Mary’s cardiovascular nurse practitioner


The Heart Valve Clinic team offers a number of treatment options for heart valve disease.

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease may be a life-threatening condition where one or more of the heart’s four valves fails to pump efficiently.

What causes heart valve disease?

It can result from a birth defect, heart attack, hypertension, aortic aneurysm or infection. Some causes are unknown.

What are the symptoms?

The strength and severity of symptoms can vary greatly, but generally include:

  • Heart murmur
  • Heart palpitation
  • Shortness of breath upon exertion
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of ankles, feet or abdomen

How is it treated?

Treatment options include drug therapy, valve repair and valve replacement. If left untreated, heart valve disease can result in heart failure, severe infection and even sudden death.

The St. Mary’s Heart Valve Clinic does not require a doctor’s referral and self referrals are accepted. For more information, call the St. Mary’s Regional Heart Institute at (304) 526-6029.

The latest treatment option: Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

One type of heart valve disease is aortic stenosis, which occurs when the heart’s aortic valve narrows, preventing the valve from opening fully. It is estimated that up to seven percent of the population over 65 may be impacted by aortic stenosis and the average lifespan of symptomatic individuals who go untreated is approximately two years. The only effective treatment for severe aortic stenosis is aortic valve replacement. Many high risk individuals are not candidates for traditional aortic valve replacement through open heart surgery.

St. Mary’s is able to offer those individuals the latest treatment option—Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, also known as TAVR.

TAVR is a less invasive procedure which allows for a new valve to be inserted within the diseased aortic valve using a catheter. The TAVR procedure can be performed by inserting the catheter through the groin or from the side.

The Heart Team approach is critical to the success of any TAVR program. It involves a collaborative approach between interventional cardiologists and cardiovascular and thoracic surgeons. St. Mary’s TAVR team consists of the Heart Valve Clinic, plus cardiologist Silvestre P. Cansino, MD, and anesthesiologist D. Grant Shy, DO.

Currently, TAVR is only approved for patients with aortic stenosis who are not open surgery candidates or are high-risk candidates. It cannot be used for patients who are candidates for traditional aortic valve replacement.