HealthWatch: Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement


Published 08/21 2014 12:06PM

Updated 08/25 2014 05:52PM

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement  
DALLAS (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Open-heart surgery is the gold standard for patients with severe aortic stenosis, but a recently published report in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms what researchers had earlier suspected. A new minimally invasive technique to repair heart valves is saving the lives of patients who are too sick for traditional surgery.
95 year-old Harry Forbes and his wife enjoy taking care of the flowers on the patio outside their Dallas apartment.
Until recently, Harry could barely walk across the room. He suffered from severe aortic stenosis.  Because of his age, doctors say he wasn't a candidate for open-heart surgery. Now, he can walk half a mile and lift weights.
Forbes took part in a clinical trial using a procedure called "TAVR", transcatheter aortic valve replacement. During the procedure doctors operate through a small, thin tube, inserted in the patient's leg. The artificial valve begins working immediately.
Researchers studied the results of 800 heart surgeries nationwide and found after one year, the rate of death was much lower in the TAVR group than the patients who had traditional surgery.
Forbes has no doubt TAVR saved his life. "It is Miraculous." He told Ivanhoe.
One of the greatest benefits of the procedure is that the recovery time is cut down from several months to a few hours or days.  Dr. Robert Stoler, Co-Director of the Division of Cardiology at Baylor Heart & Vascular Hospital in Dallas has been heavily involved in TAVR. The Baylor Heart & Vascular Hospital is one of 45 national sites taking part in the clinical study.

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