Siouxland Stories: Doctor putting his heart into patient care

Siouxland Stories

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Dr. Stilianos Efstratiadis is known across Siouxland by many names; Steely and Dr. E are the most popular. What you might not know that he performs a cutting-edge heart procedure without ever cutting open the patient, increasing the quality of life for his patient.

“The patient can recover immediately, doesn’t look like he had anything major but they feel they had something major because they feel the major change in their health,” said Efstratiadis, the Medical Director of Cardiology at MercyOne.

It’s called the TAVR, a minimally invasive approach to treating aortic stenosis or the narrowing of the aortic heart valve all without major surgery.

“It was a big open-heart procedure, they had to cut your chest. And even with the best surgeon, the recovery was pretty tough,” said Efstratiadis.

Sometimes months but now, the recovery time is shorter and the risk of complications is much lower.

“I want to let you know we just replaced the valve on a 95-year-old patient and a 96-year-old patient. These patients, it would be unheard of them having this procedure before.

Dr. Efstratiadis demonstrated how the procedure works.

“So the TAVR is pretty much aortic valve replacement that’s going from the groin of the patient. So we don’t have to cut the patient. But what we do is put a small tube in the groin of the patient and through the tubing system, we replace the valve. The valve is mounted on a balloon, and we crush the old valve with ballooning. And pretty much, we push the new valve on the old valve … and there you go, you have a new valve going out.”

Efstratiadis might make it sound simple, but it takes a highly trained team of doctors.

“The leadership is all together, very close, so we can always be talking what’s the best way to do things and the best way to resolve issues. So we have a team with 15,000 experience cases altogether. We have so far 15, and we have at least another five or six coming in the next month and every single one went great, with zero complications,” said Efstratiadis.

Both the TAVR procedure and Dr. Efstratiadis are relatively new to Siouxland.

“I love Sioux City, I came here two years ago. It was a first-sight love with a cath lab team, which you know I spend a lot of time there. The weather can be a little tough, it’s definitely not Florida, but definitely, for somebody that likes this type of weather, our community is the big plus here and our people is the big plus. We love to take care of these patients and we love the interaction with them,” said Efstratiadis.

Efstratiadis said it’s a blessing to be a part of Siouxland, and he’s grateful for the state-of-the-art equipment he’s able to use and help his patients live better lives.

“We have the best equipment available in town, and there is nothing better far away We don’t do it blindly. As you can see, this is an X-ray camera, and all the equipment we use is opaque. So we have a pedal here where we can control the X-ray beam and we have this joy-stick here where we can control the angulation of the X-ray machine. So everything we do inside the heart, we see it on the monitor,” said Efstratiadis.

To those who might say staying in Sioux City substitutes convenience for quality, Dr. Efstratiadis says think twice.

“So I want everybody to understand that we have a big program in a small city and we’ll take good care of them as good as in a bigger city. So they’ll stay here in the convenience of our town, being with their loved ones together, being able to have the whole family surrounding them. And at the same time have a top-class cardiology procedure in town, with the best experts. It’s been a blessing for me to be in this community, I really love it, I’ve made a lot of friends. It’s a great place to be, great to live here, and a great place to work,” said Efstratiadis.

If you know someone with a unique talent or little-known skill that others might enjoy hearing about, KCAU 9 wants to know them as well. Email us at with the subject “Siouxland Stories” and briefly explain what it is that this person does that is so interesting. Don’t forget to watch those stories when they air on KCAU 9 News.

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