Heart Valve Program

Dr. Firas Zahr standing in a hospital hallway smiling.
Dr. Firas Zahr is a co-director of the Complex Heart Valve Program, along with Dr. Howard Song (not shown). Dr. Zahr is passionate about offering patients minimally invasive treatment options.

The doctors in our Complex Heart Valve Program are national leaders in innovative treatments. They bring you Oregon’s widest array of options for heart valve disease.

You’ll find:

  • The first center in Oregon to replace mitral and pulmonary valves without open surgery.
  • The only Oregon program to use minimally invasive catheters to repair any of the heart’s four valves.
  • A research center with a 60-year history of pioneering valve therapies.
  • Access to the newest promising treatments through clinical trials.
  • Specialists who work together, meeting weekly to discuss details of your care.
  • The full resources and support services of OHSU and the Knight Cardiovascular Institute.
Meet Dr. Howard Song, our program’s other co-director.

Our expertise

Knight Cardiovascular Institute: Our doctors are part of the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute. The institute is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the best in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery.

Experience: Our surgeons, heart specialists and imaging experts have decades of combined experience in treating heart valve disease. We treat even the most complex cases.

Innovation: The world’s first artificial heart valve was co-invented by OHSU’s Dr. Albert Starr and Lowell Edwards, and successfully implanted at OHSU in 1960. An OHSU doctor, Melvin Judkins, introduced catheters for heart procedures (thin, flexible tubes) in the mid-1960s. We’ve continued pioneering treatments since then, refining ways to use catheters instead of open surgery for some valve procedures.

Team-based care: Our specialists work together, pooling their expertise for each patient. You will see a group of doctors at your first visit to develop a care plan tailored to you needs.

The latest technology and techniques

Transcatheter options: We are the only Oregon center with the option of repairing any valve with a minimally invasive catheter. Compared with open-year surgery, these options result in less pain and faster recovery. They are also good options for patients who would face too much risk with an open-heart surgery. We are national leaders in developing and improving these procedures.

Advanced Imaging: You will benefit from the latest in imaging, including options to see your valves in motion. This helps us give you a precise diagnosis and detailed treatment plan. We also use real-time imaging to guide catheters when repairing or replacing valves.

Clinical trials and research

OHSU is Oregon’s only public academic health center. Research is one of our core missions. Clinical trials (testing new ways to prevent, detect and treat disease using human volunteers) offer patients the chance to try a promising new therapy.

Our work includes:

  • Research on the causes of valve defects that develop before birth
  • Studies to develop alternatives to open-heart surgery
  • Research papers on heart valve repair, replacement and other topics published in medical journals

Learn more:

For patients

Call 503-494-1775 to:

  • Request an appointment
  • Seek a second opinion
  • Ask questions

Locations

Center for Health & Healing Building 1
3303 S. Bond Ave.
Portland, OR 97239
Map and directions

Physicians Pavilion
3270 S.W. Pavilion Loop
Portland, OR 97239
Map and directions

Refer a patient

Ask the experts

Have a heart care question? Submit it here. Our experts will respond to you within a week.

You can also explore our frequently asked questions. Our heart and vascular team may have already posted an answer to your question.

Safer, quicker valve replacement

An old man smiling.

Dennis Troxel is the first Oregonian to have his mitral heart valve replaced without open-heart surgery. The artificial valve replacement at OHSU is an option for people too sick for major surgery.

“I can walk and breathe again”

A woman standing near a hospital check-in counter smiling.

Theresa “Terri” Gibson had two valves repaired with a minimally invasive catheter surgery.  “It has improved my live 100 percent,” she says.

Stay informed

News: Read about research breakthroughs, patient care and many other topics on the OHSU news site.