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MetroHealth is now offering a new minimally invasive procedure for heart patients with severe Aortic Stenosis, a condition with narrowing of the aortic valve opening. This significantly reduces the amount of blood the heart can pump through the aortic valve to your body. Left untreated, severe Aortic Stenosis can lead to heart failure or even sudden death.
A traditional heart valve replacement involves implanting a valve via open-heart surgery, which can involve a recovery period of about 6 weeks to three months. A Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) involves a minimally invasive procedure where a new valve is delivered and implanted in much the same way that a cardiac stent is implanted. This procedure does not require stopping the heart or opening the chest cavity, as with an open heart surgery. This means faster recovery and lower risk for patients. According to the American Heart Association, 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.
TAVR offers a good alternative to patients who are not considered ideal candidates for open heart surgeries.
MetroHealth conducted its first TAVR procedures in late October, led by Interventional Cardiologist Meera Kondapaneni, MD, and Cardiothoracic Surgeon George M. Dimeling, MD, assisted by Anesthesiologist Maninder Singh, MD, and Aisha Siraj, MD, another Interventional Cardiologist.
"This was the culmination of a tremendous effort by a super team involving many of the Heart and Vascular team members, as well as tremendous support from around the system. They had many people supporting them and months of preparation," said William Lewis, MD, Division Director of Heart & Vascular Center.
Although the TAVR procedure is now accessible even for low risk patients, it doesn't entirely replace traditional open-heart valve replacement surgery. "Surgical open-heart valve replacement is still a preferred treatment for many patients, especially if they need bypasses for blocked heart vessels or have a need for aorta surgery," said James Ramson, APRN, CNP, Valve Coordinator for our TAVR program.
"TAVR is a great addition to our existing, robust open-heart surgical program. TAVRs will now give those patients who cannot get a surgical procedure – or do not want a surgical procedure – a viable and safe alternative for a dangerous health condition like aortic stenosis," Dr. Kondapaneni concluded.