When the aortic valve fails to open properly, blood can’t flow freely from the heart to the rest of the body. It’s called aortic valve stenosis, and it forces the heart to work harder to pump blood. That kind of added pressure on the heart muscle can lead to more cardiac problems, such as heart failure, so it’s imperative that the aortic valve be repaired or replaced.
Surgery is the standard treatment… but only for those who can tolerate it. Elderly patients whose severe stenosis is caused by calcium deposits are often too medically fragile for open-heart surgery. Until very recently, such patients had no medical options.
TAVR — Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement – is a game changer in the treatment of severe aortic valve stenosis. The key word is catheter: doctors use a catheter to thread a new valve through an artery in the groin up into the diseased aortic valve, wedging it into place to restore blood flow. In some cases, the valve is replaced through a small incision between the ribs. The intervention is achieved without opening the chest.
At Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Burlington County, New Jersey, catheter-based treatments like TAVR are performed in their innovative new hybrid operating room. It combines an operating suite with a catheterization lab, and brings together doctors and support teams in an integrated space with state-of-the-art tools and equipment for the most complex cases.
KYW’s Rasa Kaye talks with Deborah’s Attending Cardiac Interventionalist and Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Assistant Director Dr. Jon George about TAVR and the new hybrid operating room at Deborah.