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New Aortic Valve Replacement Device Improves Life Quality in Cardiac Patients

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New Aortic Valve Replacement Device

Patients who don’t qualify for open-heart surgeries now have a better chance at survival thanks to a new procedure performed by Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center surgeons. The procedure consists of a transcatheter aortic valve replacement with a new, more efficient device.

There is an increasing number of people who develop aortic stenosis later in life. Due to calcium deposits, there is a narrowing in the aortic valve that does not allow the aortic valve to open and close properly.  Because of the partially blocked blood flow in the aortic valve, the heart has to work harder in order to pump the blood to the body which increases the risk of heart failure or even death.

The aortic valve has a series of leaflets which make the blood flow from the heart to the aorta possible while preventing blood of returning into the heart at the same time. Aortic stenosis prevents these leaflets from working properly, this way forcing the heart to generate more pressure to push blood through the aortic valve.  The most common symptoms that are associated with aortic stenosis include angina, shortness of breath, edema and even fainting.

In the past this condition was treated with minimally invasive surgical procedures during which surgeons made small incisions into the chest wall and had to use a cardiopulmonary bypass in order to provide a permanent blood flow to the body.

Now, using the thranscatheter aortic valve replacement or TAVR, surgeons have for the first time the opportunity to replace the aortic valve without any conventional surgeries.In order to position the device at its right place in the aortic valve surgeons used a catheter to advanced through the femoral artery up to the heart. Once they reached the aortic valve, a small balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated, opening the valve and forcing it to start working properly.

” The initial roll-out will include patients who are not candidates for open surgery. The FDA ( Food and Drug Administration) is considering this procedure for high-risk patients who are also surgical candidates, so we look forward to offering TAVR to even more patients in the near future”, said Dr. Jonathan Tobis, the UCLA Health System director.

Studies have been made in order to test the efficiency of this new procedure. Study results have shown that new valve replacement techniques significantly improves quality of life and the survival rates. Moreover, a recent clinical study  revealed that there is a higher one-year survival rate for the patients treated with the new valve, unlike those who received medical therapy.

Dr. Richard. J. Shemin, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at the UCLA Health System said that this procedure will offer substantial quality-of-life gains and will give many hopeless, bedridden patients the opportunity of a normal life.