Levinson Heart Institute—central Virginia's leader in heart surgery

The Levinson Heart Institute at Chippenham Hospital is recognized as the first heart hospital in Virginia. Our cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons are consistently voted the best in Richmond among their peers and are devoted to advancing heart care in the central Virginia area. If you need heart and vascular surgery, you can be confident that you will find elite surgeons ready to assist at Chippenham.

Call Levinson Heart Institute at (804) 483-3015 or email chip.levinson@hcahealthcare.com with any questions you may have.

Advanced heart and vascular surgery

Levinson Heart Institute takes a multidisciplinary approach to our cardiac procedures, bringing together the very best healthcare providers to perform delicate cardiovascular procedures.

What is aortic valve stenosis?

Aortic valve stenosis—or aortic stenosis—is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening. The aortic valve is located between the left ventricle of the heart and the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body. The aorta supplies blood throughout the body. Aortic valve stenosis can eventually block blood flow from the heart, causing a backup of blood flow and pressure in the heart and to the lungs. Aortic stenosis can range from mild to severe and is more common in men than women.

Symptoms of aortic stenosis may include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain, pressure or tightness
  • Fainting, also called syncope
  • Palpitations or a feeling of heavy, pounding or noticeable heartbeats
  • Decline in activity level or reduced ability to do normal activities that require mild exertion

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement

Our elite cardiovascular surgeons are innovators when it comes to matters of the heart. In fact, we were the first hospital in Richmond to perform transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive treatment for aortic stenosis.

Also called a transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), TAVR repairs the old, damaged valve by wedging a replacement valve into the aortic valve's place. Somewhat similar to a stent placed in an artery, this approach delivers a fully collapsible replacement valve to the valve site through a catheter.

Once the new valve is expanded, it pushes the old valve leaflets out of the way, and the tissue in the replacement valve takes over the job of regulating blood flow.

The TAVR procedure can be an effective option to improve quality of life in patients who otherwise have limited choices for aortic valve repair.

Watch as a TAVR patient shares his story

Coronary artery bypass grafting

Over time, plaque in the arteries can harden, narrow and even rupture, forming a blood clot on its surface. Blood clots can mostly or completely block blood flow through a coronary artery, which can then cause a heart attack. Surgical procedures, such as coronary artery bypass grafting can be performed to bypass plaque blockage in the arteries and lower a patient's risk of a heart attack.

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a type of heart surgery used to improve blood flow to the heart in patients with severe coronary heart disease (CHD). During CABG surgery, the cardiovascular surgeon bypasses plaque buildup in the blocked portion of the coronary artery by connecting, or grafting, healthy arteries to damaged ones.

Mitral valve repair

The mitral valve controls blood flow from the left upper chamber into the left lower chamber of the heart. If the valve is diseased, it can leak blood back into the heart (mitral regurgitation). This common condition is called mitral valve prolapse (MVP).

Rather than an open-heart mitral valve replacement, doctors can perform a repair using a device. This minimally invasive procedure implants a tiny clip where the valve opens (leaflets). The clip holds the leaflets in place, fixing the valve and reducing mitral regurgitation (MR).

Our team includes cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, and electrophysiologists that work together to determine the best option for you. An appointment with a cardiovascular surgeon requires a referral from your cardiologist or primary care provider.

How the valve repair procedure works:

  • You will be placed under general anesthesia and your doctor will make a small incision.
  • Your doctor will insert a small tube (about the size of a pencil) to deliver the device.
  • The delivery system will place the device above the leak and it will grasp the valve leaflets.
  • Your device will immediately correct the valve structure and reduce blood back flow.
  • Your doctor will make sure that the clip is in place and the leak has stopped before removing the tube.