TRADITIONAL VALVE REPLACEMENT: Traditional valve repairs and replacements require open heart surgery, which involves breaking the breastbone, stopping the heart and hooking patients up to a heart-lung machine. After surgery, patients spend one to three days in the intensive care unit (ICU), a week at the hospital and at least four to six weeks recovering at home, before resuming normal activities.
This surgical procedure has been used to treat aortic stenosis for more than 30 years; however, doctors are concerned that in patients with advanced age, end-stage disease or other serious health concerns, an open chest procedure has the greater risk for problems or possibly death.
SKIPPING THE OPEN HEART: It's estimated that anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of patients who are in need of aortic valve replacement don't get it because of excessive risk factors for open heart surgery complication. Percutaneous aortic valve replacement provides a new tool for doctors to treat patients who currently cannot be treated with traditional surgical techniques. The Cribier-Edwards Percutaneous valve is a bioprosthesis made of three leaflets of equine pericardium sutured to a balloon expandable stainless steel stent. The new valve is inserted through a small puncture incision near the groin, through a catheter and fed up through an artery to the heart. Once the new valve is in place, the balloon is inflated, opening the stent and pushing the old valve out of the way to make room for the new valve. Once the new valve is secured, it immediately starts working. During the procedure, pictures of the heart and aortic valve are obtained through three-dimensional echocardiography (ultrasound) or X-ray and the images are transmitted to aid the cardiologists as they perform the procedure.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
The Andreas Gruentzig Cardiovascular Center of Emory University
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