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Structural Heart Program

Structural heart procedures

The Structural Heart Program at Wesley’s Heart Valve Clinic 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 to expedite their care and help determine the optimal treatment protocol in a setting that is convenient for the patient.

For more information about the clinic and its services, please call (316) 962-6340.

Procedures offered:

  • 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


A new procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) performed at Wesley can replace a diseased heart valve without open-heart surgery.

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.

If you have been diagnosed with aortic stenosis you may be a candidate for this procedure.

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 in 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 an improved quality of life.

What is Aortic Stenosis?

Aortic stenosis is an abnormal 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.

Symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness, feeling dizzy or fainting
  • Difficulty with exercising

Major risk factors include:

  • Increase age
  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Smoking

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 varies on how far the heart 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 or a biological valve. 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.