October 4, 2013

Severe aortic stenosis involving a buildup of calcium on the aortic valve is most commonly seen in elderly patients. As this narrowing becomes severe, patients begin suffering from shortness of breath, tiredness and heart failure. In the past they have had only two options. One is traditional open heart surgery which involves splitting the breastbone and stopping the heart. Those who are too ill or too high risk for surgery are known to do poorly with medical therapy alone in terms of poor quality of life and high risk of death within two years.

CAMC is now offering an innovative new procedure for replacing the aortic valve in patients with severely narrowed valves who are high risk or too ill to undergo open heart surgery. Using this technique, called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), the new valve is introduced through an incision in the groin without ever opening the chest. Alternatively the valve can be replaced using the same equipment through a small incision at the tip of the heart. This avoids splitting the sternum and stopping the heart (cardiopulmonary bypass) as is done in the standard operation. Research has shown improved survival and quality of life as compared to standard medical therapy.

Potential candidates for this less invasive procedure can be referred by calling (304) 388-8104.

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