Millions of people suffer from structural heart disease where parts of the heart can fail over time. One of the most common issues is a leaky mitral valve, according to Dr. Roi Altit, an Interventional and Structural Cardiologist at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne. When a mitral valve leaks, the patient suffers from shortness of breath and requires repeated trips to the hospital. He says a minimally invasive procedure implants a device called the MitraClip through a catheter inserted through a vein in the groin. He says that the device helps the mitral valve function the way it should, which prevents blood from leaking in the wrong direction.. All this is done without the need for open heart surgery.
Another common issue is aortic stenosis, when the aortic valve becomes stiff and won’t open properly. That leaves patients short of breath, with chest pain and fainting spells. He says doctors are finding success with TAVR, Transcather Aortic Valve Replacement. This is another minimally invasive procedure, where the aortic valve is replaced using a catheter. He says these patients are also getting substantial relief without open heart surgery, and many go home the next day.
Dr. Altit says many cardiac issues are now being resolved without open heart surgery, giving patients a better quality of life, more quickly and with fewer complications. He urges anyone suffering shortness of breath, chest pain or other symptoms who has been told there is nothing more available, to get a second opinion. While it may be there is nothing else that can be done, new procedures are being approved every day and you could be a good candidate.