My dad needs aortic valve replacement but his doctor says open-heart surgery is risky because of his COPD. Isn’t there anything else out these for people like him?
There are a lot of patients like your dad. Often, people with advanced cardiac disease, who have debilitating symptoms (shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain), are told there are no treatment options for them. And conditions like COPD, diabetes, kidney disease and some heart conditions can make open-heart surgery to repair an aortic valve too risky – especially for patients over 70 years old. We now have a safe and effective way to treat some of these patients– a relatively new procedure called Trans Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR).
TAVR is a cardiac program recently launched at the HCA Midwest Health Heart & Vascular Institute. “These are new approaches, new techniques… new options for people with chronic, debilitating heart disease,” said Dr. Steve Marso, Medical Director of Cardiovascular Services at HCA Midwest Health.
Dr. Marso is a nationally renowned cardiologist and medical researcher who is now working with medical providers at all HCA Midwest hospitals as well as practicing as an interventional cardiologist. He also oversees the new CTO PCI program for severe coronary artery blockage across HCA Midwest Health.
About TAVR for Aortic Valve Replacement
Heart valves control the flow of blood through the heart’s chambers. With age, the valves can narrow or stiffen, causing blood to leak through them. It can lead to symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, fainting and an inability to complete daily activities like getting dressed and walking.
The most common, and serious, heart valve issue occurs in the aortic valve, which releases blood from the heart to the body. Traditionally, patients would require open-heart surgery to replace the aortic valve if it becomes too narrowed to allow blood to leave the heart to the body. But not everyone is a candidate for open heart surgery and patients who were too sick or frail had few options. TAVR is now an option for these patients. Instead of replacing the damaged heart valve, TAVR involves placing a new valve inside the faulty one.
The replacement valve is compressed and attached to a catheter—a long thin tube that can be placed inside an artery (usually in the leg) and then fed through to the heart. The replacement valve is then placed inside the natural valve and expanded to fit, where it begins to function just as the natural valve did.
Now offered at Research Medical Center, TAVR is a proven treatment for patients with aortic valve disease that are not candidates for open heart surgery. In fact, TAVR is so successful that doctors are starting to use this method for lower risk patients who have traditionally qualified for open-heart surgery but are interested in a less invasive option.
Bringing leading-edge treatments like TAVR and CTO PCI to the Kansas City-area is one way HCA Midwest Health is fulfilling our commitment to providing extraordinary cardiac care for patients. Patients who want to learn more are encouraged to talk with their physicians or cardiologist to ask for a referral to the Structural Heart Clinic at HCA Midwest Health Heart and Vascular Institute or call (816) 751-3000 to speak with a nurse about health questions.