THE INCREDIBLE TRANSFORMATION OF AORTIC VALVE REPLACEMENT
Each year, more than 600,000 people in the United States die of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in both men and women. One type of heart disease, aortic valve stenosis, is the most common valvular heart disease. Calcific aortic valve stenosis and congenital bicuspid aortic valve stenosis account for the majority of cases. Often asymptomatic until the disease has greatly progressed, aortic valve stenosis forces the heart to work harder which can lead to heart failure and sudden death. Each year, thousands of patients undergo open-heart surgery to replace their damaged valves. However, thousands of other patients are turned away, categorized as too high-risk to survive the operation, due to age, illness or because of multiple serious medical problems.
A recently approved procedure has given many of these high-risk patients an alternative to open-heart surgery. Approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2011, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) was first performed in France in 2002. Considered a game changer, TAVR is a catheterbased procedure designed to open the damaged valve and implant a bioprosthetic (a stent-mounted animal tissue) valve at the same location.
Eisenhower Medical Center is the only valley hospital to perform TAVR. Recently, the core members of Eisenhower’s TAVR team include: Interventional Cardiologists Andrew Frutkin, MD, and Puneet Khanna, MD, as well as Cardiothoracic Surgeons Joseph Wilson, MD, and Matthew Powers, MD.
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