Physicians Replace Heart Valve in New Minimally-Invasive Procedure
February 11, 2014
Bellevue, Wash. – On Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 physicians at Overlake Medical Center replaced a valve in the heart of an 87-year-old man in a game-changing, minimally-invasive procedure—all performed via a catheter to the man’s heart.
The Heart Team at Overlake Medical Center and Group Health replaced the man’s aortic valve with a new artificial valve that will greatly improve the ability of the patient’s heart to regulate the flow of blood.
Overlake is the only hospital on the Eastside, and one of only four hospitals in the state, to provide this procedure. Because there aren’t any other treatment options for patients with severe or critical aortic valve stenosis who are not suitable candidates for traditional surgery, this minimally-invasive procedure offers new hope to patients and their family members.
The physicians are part of a new program partnership between Overlake Medical Center and Group Health Cooperative to treat patients who, until now, had few options. Called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), the procedure is a less-invasive alternative for patients with severe stenosis or “narrowing” of the aortic valve who are not suitable surgical candidates, are high-risk or are too sick for standard open-heart surgery to replace the valve. European studies will soon assess the suitability of TAVR for patients with moderate risks for traditional surgery.
“We’re at the juncture where technology is changing the field of cardiology yet again. Without TAVR, some patients have no choice but to live with symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain and fainting,” said Ronnier Aviles, MD, Interventional Cardiologist at Overlake Clinics and co-medical director of the TAVR program at Overlake Medical Center.
Aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the aortic valve—usually caused by calcium build up or scarring—that restricts blood flow through the heart, sometimes resulting in heart failure.
“Before TAVR, patients diagnosed with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis who were not surgical candidates carried a mortality rate as high as 50 percent at two years,” said Scott Haugen, MD, Interventional Cardiologist at Group Health Bellevue Medical Center and co-medical director of the TAVR program at Overlake Medical Center. “In a clinical trial, TAVR reduced mortality in the same patient population by greater than 20 percent. For the first time, we have the opportunity for Overlake and Group Health to not only help improve those patients’ length of life, but also their quality of life.”
The TAVR procedure is performed in a specially-designed surgical space that combines features of a heart surgery suite and heart catheterization lab into one state-of-the-art surgical suite. The TAVR procedure is one of many heart and vascular procedures performed at Overlake Medical Center.