Dr. Amish Sura Of The Heart Center At Mercy Discusses A Minimally Invasive Procedure For Treating Severe Aortic Stenosis: Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
Mercy cardiologist Dr. Amish Sura exhibits equipment used in transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)
A new procedure is helping high-risk patients with severe aortic stenosis get the replacement valves they need without the risk of open-heart surgery.
Severe aortic stenosis happens when the aortic valve in the heart becomes very narrow, interfering with the blood that flows through the body. Open heart surgery is usually the only way to correct the problem, but for some, it's too dangerous.
Ethel Eaton, 93, loves getting around, especially with her grandchildren, but just about a year ago, she was not feeling well at all.
"I was really tired. I would do a little bit of something and I'd have to sit down. I couldn't breathe right," she said.
According to Mercy cardiologist Dr. Amish Sura, Eaton had severe aortic stenosis from an aging aortic valve that was worn out from opening and closing with every heartbeat.
"As it gets worn out, it gets damaged. As it heals from being damaged, it becomes very calcified and very hard, and the opening becomes very restrictive. That can lead to a multitude of symptoms and then becomes a mechanical obstruction to flow and requires a mechanical solution to take care of it," Dr. Sura said.
That mechanical solution is a transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR. For patients like Eaton, traditional open-heart surgery is too risky and, often, doctors said medication alone isn't enough.
The replacement valve is made of a stainless steel frame on the outside and pig tissue on the inside, doctors said. During TAVR, the doctor puts a hollow tube called a sheath in an artery through the leg, and a balloon is inserted through the sheath into the blood vessel to the aortic valve. The fluid-filled balloon is then expanded to crack open the old valve to make room for the new aortic valve.
The whole procedure takes about two hours.
"Getting your tonsils out was more pain than that operation that I had," Eaton said after her procedure.
Her quality of life has returned and Eaton notes she’d do it all over again..
TAVR does have risks, including stroke and vascular complications, so it's important to go to an experienced cardiac center for screening to make sure you are a good candidate for the procedure
To learn more about TAVR and transcatheter aortic valve replacement, Dr. Amish Sura, heart health, etc., click here:
Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at www.mdmercy.com, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.