BANGOR – Forget the big 5-0. The Northern Light Structural Heart Program team has hit the big 5-0-0, and the timing couldn’t have been better. In February – American Heart Month –Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center’s talented Structural Heart team completed their 500th Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement procedure.

TAVRs a less invasive approach to implanting a new heart valve within a diseased valve. Unlike open heart surgery, where an incision is made across the full length of the chest to remove an unhealthy valve, TAVR uses a catheter. This option typically shortens the patient’s hospital stay and overall recovery time, reduces pain and anxiety and provides a far improved quality of life.

“When TAVR was first introduced, the Food and Drug Administration had only approved it for severe aortic stenosis, a common and serious heart valve disease problem,” says Matthew McKay, MD, FACC, interventional cardiologist, Northern Light Cardiology and medical director, Northern Light Structural Heart Program. “Over time, TAVR has proved to be an excellent option for patients with mild to moderate symptoms as well, and we are very happy to offer this option to patients in our region.”

The lives of 500 Mainers were improved thanks to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center’s TAVR team. To learn more about TAVR and the Structural Heart Program, visit