Presbyterian Hospital is the first hospital in the Carolinas to perform a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (with Edwards Lifescience valve) following the Food and Drug Administration’s post clinical trialapproval of the procedure in November 2011. The program was launched locally on Thursday, Jan. 12.
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a non-surgical treatment option for valve replacement. The procedure is the only option for people with severe aortic stenosis, or narrowing of the heart valve who cannot endure the traditional surgical approach of open-heart surgery due to age or coexisting health reasons. Without valve replacement, restriction in blood flow to the heart caused by stenosis can lead to death; fifty percent of patients will not survive more than an average of two years after the onset of symptoms.
Former Union County school principal, Fred High, was one of the first patients to undergo TAVR. Mr. High is looking forward to getting back to spending time with his family and living a higher quality of life, thanks to his successful procedure.
Together, an interventional cardiologist and cardiovascular surgeon create a small incision in the groin and feed a wire mesh valve through a catheter to the patient’s heart from the femoral artery in their leg. The procedure is performed while the heart is beating and eliminates the need for traditional open heart surgery, which requires a surgeon to cut through the breastbone, stop the heart and remove and replace the existing valve. In addition, hospital admissions are usually shorter for patients who have TAVR.
Results from the PARTNER (Placement of AoRTICtraNscatherER valves) trial showed TAVR is safe and effective for patients that are too high risk for surgery. The aortic valve replacement devices used in the trial are manufactured by Edwards Life Sciences, which also funded the study.
Cleveland Clinic was one of the 26 centers worldwide where the PARTNER trial was conducted. Presbyterian Hospital announced late last year that it has affiliated with Cleveland Clinic for heart care. The clinical team with Presbyterian Cardiovascular Institute traveled to Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Irvine, Vancouver and Cleveland for research and training on TAVR.
In the U.S. up to 1.5 million people a year suffer from aortic stenosis, and about 500,000 have severe stenosis. In the U.S., an estimated 85,000 aortic valve replacement procedures are performed annually.