Baptist Offers Breakthrough Heart Valve Technology

Monday, July 2, 2012

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This month, Baptist was one of the first in the nation and the first in the metro Jackson area to offer transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) technology for the treatment of aortic stenosis in selected patients.

The Edwards SAPIEN Valve, approved by the FDA in November 2011, is designed to replace a patient’s diseased aortic valve without the need for open-heart surgery or the use of a heart-lung machine.

The first two procedures were performed on July 5, 2012. The first patient went home the day after surgery, and the second patient went home two days after surgery. Baptist's Valve Center Nurse Practitioner Camille Richards was extremely excited to announce that the "patients are doing remarkably well."

 “This new technology is not only exciting for me professionally, but is exciting for improvements it will offer in the quality of life for patients in our state and surrounding areas,” said Baptist Cardiovascular Surgeron William Harris, MD. “Beginning today, people who formerly had no options with regards to treatment of their narrowed aortic valves will now have the potential to receive a new heart valve without having any incision on their chest. This procedure will not only greatly diminish their chance of an early death, but it will also improve their quality of life.”

The Edwards SAPIEN Valve is the first TAVR therapy to receive FDA approval. This technology enables physicians to place a prosthetic aortic heart valve into the body via a catheter that is inserted through a cut in the leg, and threaded up to the heart.

The first step in the process of patient enrollment includes screening the patient to see how severe their aortic valve stenosis is. “Patients typically need to have a classification of severe aortic valve stenosis which includes a valve area of less than one square centimeter, a velocity across the valve of 4 m/sec, and a mean gradient of 40 mmHG.” says Jackson Heart Cardiologist William Crowder, MD. “The starting point at the valve clinic will be confirmation of these numbers with special measurements to see what size prosthetic valve they would require.”

Up to 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from aortic stenosis, a progressive disease that affects the aortic valve of their hearts. The aorta is the main artery carrying blood out of the heart. When blood leaves the heart, it flows through the aortic valve, into the aorta.

In aortic stenosis, a buildup of calcium on the aortic valve prevents it from opening fully. This decreases blood flow from the heart. With severe symptomatic aortic stenosis, people often develop debilitating symptoms that can limit normal day-to-day activities, such as walking short distances or climbing stairs.

Aortic stenosis is typically a disease of the elderly, as calcium buildup on heart valves occurs as one gets older. Aortic stenosis most typically occurs in patients older than 75 years of age. In a minority of cases, a congenital heart defect, rheumatic fever, radiation therapy, medication or inflammation of the membrane of the heart can also cause the valve to narrow.

According to guidelines of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association, surgical aortic valve replacement (AVR) is indicated in virtually all symptomatic patients with severe aortic stenosis who are otherwise healthy enough to undergo surgery. Patients who do not receive an aortic valve replacement have no effective, long-term treatment option to prevent or delay their worsening condition. Without surgery, severe symptomatic aortic stenosis is life-threatening. Studies indicate that 50 percent of patients will not survive more than an average of two years after the onset of symptoms.

Prior to the advent of TAVR, there was no definitive treatment available for patients who are unable to undergo open-heart surgery for AVR, the gold standard treatment for most adult patients with severe AS.

Click here to learn more about Baptist's Valve Center.

About Edwards Lifesciences
Edwards Lifesciences is the global leader in the science of heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring. The Edwards SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve builds upon Edwards Lifesciences’ more than 50 years of continuous refinement in surgical heart valve technology, and successful collaboration in device development with clinicians. This foundational experience in heart valve technology has translated into demonstrated durability of the company’s surgical heart valves and positive patient outcomes – establishing Edwards as a leader in the science of heart valves.

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