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Heart Hospital of Austin Opens Clinic For New Trans-Catheter Aortic Valve Replacement

By on January 25, 2012 in Health News Texas with 0 Comments

A first of its kind clinic giving new hope to patients with severe aortic stenosis has been opened by Heart Hospital of Austin.  Patients with severe aortic stenosis were previously considered “inoperable,” delivering a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating such cases.

Interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at the clinic will collaboratively identify patients who may be eligible for a new, catheter-based valve replacement procedure, known as trans-catheter aortic valve replacement, instead of traditional, open-chest procedures.

Heart-hHeart Hospital of Austin is among the first sites in the nation to receive this trans-catheter aortic valve replacement technology since it was approved by the FDA in November 2011.

“This is truly a collaborative approach to valve replacement that will provide another option for patients who are not candidates for open-chest surgery due to advanced age, or because they are too ill or suffering from additional medical conditions,” Faraz Kerendi, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon at Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons who practices at Heart Hospital of Austin, said. “Prior to this procedure, such patients were classified as inoperable and had no treatment options. They were often given only months to live.”

Severe aortic stenosis is a condition in which the opening of the aortic valve—which is located between the main pumping chamber of the heart, or left ventricle, and the aorta—becomes narrow, restricting blood flow from the heart.

“Over time, the valve can become calcified, preventing it from opening and releasing the blood properly,” Juhana Karha, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin and with Austin Heart, said. “Open-chest surgery is the traditional treatment method for this condition, but catheter-based valve replacement gives hope to patients who cannot undergo surgery for a variety of reasons.”

Symptoms of severe aortic stenosis include chest pain and chest pressure. It can also cause blood to “back up” into the lungs, resulting in shortness of breath and other breathing problems. Left untreated, this condition is often fatal.

Trans-catheter aortic valve replacement consists of inserting a valve—which has been developed to shrink down to the size of a pencil—through the groin via catheter (a flexible tube), up to the aorta. After the catheter is advanced through the aorta and aortic valve, it is positioned and then opened with a balloon.

Trans-catheter aortic valve replacement results in a shorter recovery time—one to two weeks, versus six to eight weeks for traditional surgery—and a much smaller incision. More importantly, it prevents the need for physicians to utilize a heart bypass machine. This new technology allows the patient’s heart to beat on its own throughout the entire procedure.

The Heart Valve Clinic operates under the guidance of interventional cardiologists, Juhana Karha, M.D., and Frank Zidar, M.D., of Austin Heart, as well as cardiothoracic surgeons, Faraz Kerendi, M.D., and Stephen Dewan, M.D., of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons.


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