Heart Valve Procedure To Help Patients Who Cannot Have Surgery, Imperial College Healthcare, England

February 23, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

A new procedure to replace the heart valve of patients with aortic stenosis has been introduced at Imperial College Healthcare to help patients who have been turned down for open heart surgery.

The new minimally invasive technique, called TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation), will treat patients who are considered too high risk to have traditional surgery because of their age or other co-morbidities such as lung disease, renal impairment or previous stroke.

The technology offers an alternative treatment for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are considered unsuitable to have open heart surgery and would otherwise have a poor prognosis without a valve replacement.

Aortic stenosis happens when one of the valves in the heart – the aortic valve – narrows, restricting the flow of blood through the valve and making the heart pump harder, which can lead to breathlessness, chest pain, dizziness, blackouts and ultimately heart failure.

The new procedure is performed in a cardiology catheter laboratory rather than in an operating theatre and works by making a small incision in the patient’s groin or the apex of the heart, and introducing an artificial valve using a catheter. The valve consists of three leaflets inside a metal cage called a stent, which is mounted on a balloon. Once the new valve is in position, the balloon is inflated, crushing the old valve against the wall of the aorta and replacing it with the new one.

Traditionally aortic valves are replaced via open heart surgery, involving a bigger incision in the patient’s chest, putting the patient’s heart on bypass and a prolonged period of rehabilitation. Patients having the new minimally invasive procedure could have a shorter recovery period and potentially less time in hospital.

Dr Ghada Mikhail, cardiologist and programme lead for TAVI, said: “As this new technology develops we hope to be able to offer this procedure not only to older and higher risk patients, but also to a wider group of lower risk patients.”


– Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust offers TAVI at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London and aims to complete approximately 50 TAVI procedures a year

– Patients need to be referred to St Mary’s Hospital, London to have the procedure. For more details please contact the cardiology department on 020 7886 1929

– The aortic valve is one of the valves of the heart found between between the left ventricle and the aorta

– Development of aortic stenosis is often age-related because deposits of calcium build up in the valves of some older people making the aortic valve stiff and difficult to open

– The valves are produced by Edwards Lifesciences (Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve)

– Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust comprises Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and Western Eye hospitals. It is the largest Trust in the country, and in partnership with Imperial College London, is the UK’s first academic health science centre (AHSC)

– The AHSC was created to take the research discoveries it makes and translate them into new and improved treatments and techniques to directly benefit patients throughout the Trust

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

[Via http://www.medicalnewstoday.com]


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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