Sometimes, less is more.

At Prairie, it is our mission to get you back to your life. Our innovative, minimally invasive treatments for heart disease provide our patients with less pain and a shorter recovery time.


When heart valves don’t work, they can cause symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and even congestive heart failure.  At Prairie, we offer minimally invasive alternatives such as TAVR and MitraClip to help patients with valvular heart disease. Patients will meet a team of specialists in our valve clinic who all work in partnership to determine a unique treatment plan for every patient.


The visionary alternative to open heart surgery is called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR). Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. John’s Hospital was the first hospital in downstate Illinois to share this life-saving treatment that’s giving hope to heart patients who need it most.

Guided by X-ray images, a catheter is inserted into the femoral artery in the upper thigh. With the heart still beating, a collapsible heart valve inside the catheter is guided into the chest. This valve is only about the diameter of a #2 pencil. Once inside, the replacement valve is expanded, pushing aside the damaged valves. The replacement valve is then secured into place, where it begins to function immediately. The catheter is then removed. Because the procedure is minimally invasive and requires virtually no cutting, most patients can expect an in-hospital recovery time of three days or less.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Benefits of TAVR?

You should start feeling better right away. This is because your heart valve is now working properly. Some patients may take longer to feel better. Many  TAVR patients report benefits like:

  • Having more energy
  • Being able to do everyday activities
  • Breathing normally
  • Experiencing less pain
  • Feeling less anxious
What will my recovery time be like?

Since TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure, most patients leave the hospital in 1-3 days. 

What preparation should I do beforehand?

Your valve clinic team will provide you with instructions of how to prepare for your TAVR procedure. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Benefits of a Valve Clinic?

The Prairie Valve clinic provides patients with access to a team of heart specialists. This care team model ensures that each patient receives an individualized plan to help treat their unique condition.   

What will my recovery time be like?

Because every heart is unique, recovery can be variable depending upon the type of treatment a patient receives.  

What preparation should I do beforehand?

One of our Valve Clinic Coordinators will speak with you before your visit to ensure that you understand what you can expect from a visit to the Valve Clinic.  

Structural Heart Disease-Valve Clinic

Like any structure or machine, the heart requires maintenance. It’s why doctors push diet and exercise as any automotive shop recommends oil change and tire rotation. The fix may be a fluid change or a pipe opened (stent), a work around (bypass) or an electrical problem (ablation). When that doesn’t work, it may require changing how it was built (structure).

Managing Chronic Heart Diseases by Altering the Structure

Conditions such as atrial fibrillation (AFib), heart defects and heart failure are all considered chronic issues of the heart that might best be served by addressing the structure of the heart.

Innovative structural approaches at Prairie are improving the lives of people who may be living with a “beater.” From open heart valve repair/replacement, minimally invasive valve repair to implantable structural devices, a structural solution could help you live better. If you are struggling to manage a chronic heart issue, talk to a Prairie doctor today.


What is the MitraClip option?

MitraClip is a non-surgical and minimally invasive treatment option for patients with severely leaky mitral valve (mitral valve regurgitation) who are considered too high risk for traditional open-heart surgery procedures. Benefits include a shorter recovery time, minimally invasive procedure, significantly less pain compared to open heart surgery, improvement in quality of life and symptoms, and reduction in hospitalization for congestive heart failure and potentially life-saving option for high risk patients.

What is Mitral Valve Regurgitation?

Mitral regurgitation (MR) is a common heart valve disorder that causes blood to leak backwards through the heart’s mitral valve.  Mitral valve prolapse or myxomatous mitral valve disease is a common cause of MR. It causes the mitral leaflet(s) (the flaps inside the valve that open and close to let blood through) to become stretchy or floppy and they do not close tightly, leading to leakage of blood or MR. If severe leakage occurs with symptoms such as shortness of breath and signs of congestive heart failure, heart surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve is the best treatment option. Surgery is too risky for some patients however.

I have a severely leaky mitral valve, what should I do?

To see if you are a possible candidate for treatment with the MitraClip, you will have a comprehensive assessment by a multidisciplinary team at Prairie Heart Institute including a cardiologist, cardiac surgeon and anesthesiologist. You will have a transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) and transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) to determine whether treatment with MitraClip is possible. The team will focus on how well your condition has been managed with medications, whether you are a candidate for conventional surgery and if you would benefit from treatment with the MitraClip.

Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. John’s Hospital was the first hospital to perform the MitraClip procedure in Illinois outside of the Chicago metropolitan area.

What happens during the MitraClip Procedure?

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. It involves implanting one or more clips on the mitral valve in the area of the leakage, without surgery by means of a catheter inserted through the vein in the groin. Once the clip is in place it will become a permanent part of your heart, allowing your mitral valve to close more tightly and reduce the backward flow of blood.

Watch how the procedure is performed in the video below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Benefits of MitraClip?

Benefits include shorter recovery time, minimally invasive, significantly less pain compared to open heart surgery, improvement in quality of life and symptoms, and reduction in hospitalization for congestive heart failure.

What will my recovery time be like?
The average hospital stay is 1-2 days. Patients are generally up and walking the day following the procedure.
What preparation should I do beforehand?

Your cardiologist will provide you with specific instructions for the day of the procedure. However, since there is no incision in your chest, pre-procedure preparation is minimal.


What is WATCHMAN LAAC implant?

The WATCHMAN device is a parachute-shaped self-expanding device permanently implanted in the LAA sealing it off. It prevents blood clots in the LAA from entering the bloodstream. It is made of materials that are common to many medical devices, is about the size of a quarter, and it cannot be seen outside the body.

How is the WATCHMAN device implanted?

The WATCHMAN Implant is typically performed while you are asleep. Your doctor will guide the WATCHMAN device into your heart through a flexible tube (catheter) inserted through a vein in your upper leg. Once the position is confirmed, your doctor will release the implant to leave it permanently in the heart. The implant does not require open heart surgery. You would then need to stay in the hospital overnight and recovery typically takes about 24 hours. After 6 weeks, you may be able to stop taking your blood thinner.

What are the steps before WATCHMAN implant?

To see if you are a possible candidate for treatment with the WATCHMAN device, you will have a comprehensive assessment by the WATCHMAN team at Prairie Heart Institute. This will include:

  • A Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE)
    TEE images are used to evaluate the shape and size of your LAA. The measurements will help your doctor determine the size of the LAAC device. You will not be able to eat or drink anything 6 hours prior to the TEE.
    On the day of your TEE you will have a blood draw to evaluate basic lab values.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Benefits of Watchman?

The most significant benefit for patients is that they no longer require anticoagulation for their atrial fibrillation.  

What will my recovery time be like?

Most patients typically leave the hospital in 1-2 days after the procedure.  

What preparation should I do beforehand?

Watchman is a minimally invasive procedure. Your cardiologist will provide you with instructions for the day of the procedure. 

Cardiac Ablation

What is Cardiac Ablation?

Cardiac ablation uses energy to make small scars in your heart tissue. These scars help stop abnormal electrical signals that move through your heart and cause an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Cardiac ablation can also treat atrial fibrillation (a-fib). Your cardiologist may recommend an ablation if medications or other procedures, such as a cardioversion, don’t resolve your arrhythmia.

There are 2 types of cardiac ablation:

  • Radiofrequency ablation:  Uses catheters to send radiofrequency energy (similar to microwave heat) that creates circular scars around each vein or group of veins.
  • Cryoablation: A single catheter sends a balloon tipped with a substance that freezes the tissues to cause a scar.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Benefits of Cardiac Ablation?

Cardiac Ablation can be successful in treating many types of irregular heart rhythms. Many patients no longer require medication like blood thinners after a successful ablation.  

What will my recovery time be like?

You may need to spend a night in the hospital, but most people go home the same day. If so, you’ll rest in a recovery room for a few hours while a nurse closely watches your heart rate.  

What preparation should I do beforehand?

Your cardiologist will provide you with instructions to follow before your procedure.  

Cardiothoracic Surgery

What is Cardiothoracic (Open Heart) Surgery?

Cardiothoracic or open heart surgery is an operation to repair a problem inside the chest or heart. It is performed by a surgeon who opens the chest to get access to the heart.

An artery can be taken from the chest or the leg and can be grafted to route flow around the diseased vessel.

Another procedure done by open heart surgery is replacing a faulty valve. Valves in the heart are needed to stop blood from flowing back into parts of the heart after being pumped out of them. Many patients are seen in the Prairie Valve Clinic prior to valve surgery. 

Another problem called an aortic aneurysm can also be repaired by open heart surgery. This is when there is a bulge in the main artery leaving the heart.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Benefits of Open Heart Surgery?

After recovery from open heart surgery, there should be improvement in symptoms such as breathlessness and chest pain. 

What will my recovery time be like?

Recovery will vary based on the type of procedure. 

What preparation should I do beforehand?

Please ask your surgeon about pre-surgical preparations. 

We're more than just the latest in treatments

The latest technologies don’t make the biggest difference without the unique system of care put together by Prairie.

Notice of Nondiscrimination: English

Prairie Cardiovascular is a Physician and APC of cardiovascular health care and treatments in multiple locations throughout central Illinois. Our organization provides the best cardiologists in the state, with renowned surgical precision and professional advice on heart-related concerns. We test and medically treat for all common heart symptoms such as chest pains, hypertension, high blood pressure, murmurs, palpitations, high cholesterol, and disease. We have several locations including major cities such as Decatur, Carbondale, O'Fallon, and Springfield.