TAVR Offers New Hope for Heart Patients
This summer, physicians at the Valve Clinic at Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute performed three successful Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedures. Memorial is one of the first sites in South Florida to offer this groundbreaking minimally invasive therapy for patients with severe symptomatic native aortic valve stenosis (AS).
Approximately 250,000 people in the United States have severe symptomatic AS (narrowing of the aortic heart valve), and about one third of these patients are too sick or too old to undergo traditional open-heart surgery. Without an aortic valve replacement, 50 percent of severe AS patients will not survive more than an average of two years after the onset of symptoms. TAVR provides a new life-saving option to these patients.
The TAVR procedure requires the expertise and special training of a collaborative "heart team," comprising specialists from various disciplines. Memorial"s Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute"s heart team includes cardiac surgeons Michael Cortelli, MD, and Juan Plate, MD; interventional cardiologists Juan Pastor-Cervantes, MD, and Luis Tami, MD; cardiologists Adam Splaver, MD, and Ralph Levy, MD; and anesthesiologist Robert Brooker, MD.
"This procedure was unimaginable even 10 years ago," said Dr. Cortelli, Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery. "It is an example of technology that was originally developed to help the sickest patients who could not survive open heart surgery, but, as innovations continue, it will benefit healthier patients and inevitably influence the way we think about and perform cardiac surgery."
TAVR therapy is made possible with the Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve. The new prosthetic aortic valve is implanted via a catheter inserted in the femoral artery in the patient"s thigh and advanced to the heart using a specially designed and X-ray-guided delivery catheter. Positioned and implanted with an expandable balloon system, the entire aortic valve is replaced without incisions and without stopping the heart.