Hospital begins new heart valve replacement procedure.
A new option for county patients.
About one in eight people over 75 have a degenerative condition known as aortic stenosis, which is a deterioration and partial closing of the valve between the heart and the large blood vessel called the aorta that carries freshly oxygenated blood to the body.
The condition does not always cause symptoms, but when it becomes severe, it can cause a variety of symptoms including fatigue, inability to exercise, fainting, chest tightening and shortness of breath.
While some medications can help alleviate symptoms, there is no medical cure for the condition. If it becomes severe enough, the only real cure is to replace the valve.
Traditionally, this was done through open heart surgery, where the old valve is removed and a new one is sewn in place. While open heart surgery is still considered the gold standard for aortic valve replacement, there are many patients who have medical conditions that increase the risk of open heart surgery.
For these patients, a new procedure called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) offers a minimally invasive method for valve replacement. In this procedure, a new valve is fed through a catheter inserted into an artery in the leg or chest and put in place much like a cardiac stent.
Once in place, the valve is opened, crushing the old diseased valve, and becoming the new aortic valve.
Although the procedure was approved in the U.S. in 2011, it was originally approved only for patients for whom open heart surgery presented a high risk. More recently, TAVR eligibility includes patients for whom open heart surgery poses a moderate risk.
As the program has gained acceptance, more hospitals have been performing the procedure. However, until very recently, patients seeking this procedure had to leave the county for the treatment.
This has now changed, and within the last month, Citrus Memorial Hospital has begun performing the TAVR procedure.
The procedure is done by a multidisciplinary team that has done extensive training, and it includes one member who has done over 800 procedures at other hospitals.
While not every patient with aortic stenosis will qualify for this surgery, for patients who qualify, this procedure means a shorter hospital stay and a quicker recovery.
Citrus Memorial has developed a good reputation for open heart surgery. Adding this new procedure gives heart patients in the county a new treatment option, and for both patients and their families, treatment closer to home