Structural Heart Program
551 N. Hillside, Suite 520
The Structural Heart Program at Wesley combines the expertise of cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists to provide focused assessment and treatment options for patients with complex heart disorders.
This multidisciplinary approach offers patients access to several specialists at one time in order to expedite their care and help determine the optimal treatment protocol in a setting that is convenient for the patient.
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)
- Mitral balloon valvuloplasty for mitral stenosis
- Alcohol septal ablation
- Paravalvular leak closure
- Aortic coarctation stenting
- Percutaneous balloon pericardiotomy for recurrent pericardial effusion
- Atrial appendage ligation/exclusion
What is aortic stenosis?
Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of a heart valve. This narrowing prevents the valve from opening fully, reducing the blood flow from the heart into the aorta and onward to the rest of the body.
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Lightheadedness, feeling dizzy or fainting
- Difficulty with exercising
Major risk factors include:
- Increase age
- High blood pressure
- High Cholesterol
Severe aortic stenosis is a very serious problem. Without treatment, half the people who are feeling symptoms die within an average of two years. It is important to get diagnosed and get treatment without delay.
Treatment for aortic stenosis depends on how far the disease has progressed. If the stenosis is mild, medication may be prescribed. However, as the stenosis gets worse, the diseased aortic valve may need to be replaced.
Aortic valve replacement through open heart surgery is common treatment for severe aortic stenosis. The surgeon removes the diseased valve and replaces it with either a mechanical valve (made from man-made materials) or a biological valve (made from animal or human tissue). Open-heart surgery requires stopping the heart and using a heart-lung machine to maintain blood flow during the surgery.
However, nearly half of patients with aortic stenosis are considered high-risk, which means that open-heart valve surgery is not an option for them. Until recently, high-risk patients with aortic stenosis had no other options.
A new way to health your heart
A new procedure performed at Wesley Medical Center can replace the heart valve without open-heart surgery. This procedure is called transcatheter aortic valve replacement or TAVR.
TAVR does not involve opening the chest at all. It takes place while the patient’s heart is still beating, eliminating the need for stopping the heart and using a heart-lung machine.
How does it work?
The procedure is performed by a team of cardiovascular physicians in a specialty designed operating room at Wesley.
- First the patient is sedated for the procedure.
- A tiny incision is made near the groin or in a major leg artery.
- The cardiovascular physicians guide a long tube, called a catheter, into the incision and up to the heart.
- The new valve (which has a balloon on its end and has been collapsed into the tube) is placed inside the diseased valve and inflated.
- When the balloon is inflated, the new valve takes the place of the diseased valve. The new valve allows blood to flow from the heart normally.
Unlike open-heart surgery, this minimally invasive treatment results in faster recovery time. The patient feels better very soon and can enjoy and improved quality of life.
Is this procedure a treatment for you?
If you have ever been told you have aortic stenosis or if you suffer from symptoms, you may be a candidate for this procedure. Talk with your cardiologist about your options.
Who are the physicians?
TAVR is performed by a team of highly trained cardiac physicians and anesthesiologists. Along with specialized nurses and other hospital staff members, they provide compassionate, high-quality care to help patients get back on their feet and active again.