UCLA uses new device to replace aortic valve in patients who can't have open-heart surgery

August 16, 2012 By Rachel Champeau
Edwards SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve

(Medical Xpress) -- UCLA has performed its first transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), using a new device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to replace an aortic valve in a patient who was not a candidate for open-heart surgery. The procedure took place on Aug. 9.

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is part of a growing trend of hospitals nationwide offering this new minimally invasive procedure.

As the U.S. population ages, an increasing number of patients will develop aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the heart's caused by calcium deposits, which impedes blood flow, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood to the body and placing patients at higher risk of heart failure or death. 

Although minimally invasive surgical procedures have been used on the aortic valve in the past, these operations relied on incisions in the chest wall and required cardiopulmonary bypass. The TAVR allows doctors for the first time to replace the aortic valce without either of these components of conventional surgery.

The aortic valve's leaflets act as sentries to help blood flow from the heart into the aorta while preventing blood from leaking backward into the heart. When the leaflets aren't doing their job properly due to aortic stenosis, the heart needs to generate higher pressure to push the blood through the valve into the aorta. Patients with aortic stenosis have a number of symptoms, including chest pressure or angina, shortness of breath, edema, and fainting.

Many patients are not good candidates for conventional valve replacement because they suffer from a number of other health issues, and it is estimated that 40 percent of patients do not undergo aortic valve relacement because they are considered inoperable.

 The new device is deployed through a catheter — a long tube that is advanced through an artery in the groin up to the heart. Once in place, a balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated, opening the new valve, which starts working instantly. 

TAVR is the latest in a trend of major surgical procedures now being performed without invasive surgery at UCLA. The team's cardiologists, heart surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and technologists work closely together to address the needs of each individual patient.

"The new valve procedure offers hope to patients who previously had few options," said Dr. Jonathan Tobis, a clinical professor of cardiology and director of interventional cardiology for the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the UCLA Health System. "The initial roll-out will include patients who are not candidates for open surgery. The FDA is considering this procedure for high-risk patients who are also surgical candidates, so we look forward to offering TAVR to even more patients in the near future."

Studies have shown the new valve procedure dramatically improves quality of life and survival rates. A recent randomized clinical study showed a significantly higher one-year survival rate among patients treated with the new valve, compared with those who received medical therapy.

 "We expect to see substantial quality-of-life gains from this new procedure," said Dr. Richard. J. Shemin, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at the Geffen School of Medicine and the UCLA Health System. "Many who were formerly bedridden and hopeless will be able to resume a more normal life with this novel new therapy."

Explore further: UofL physicians, Jewish Hospital first in Kentucky to offer new aortic valve replacement

More information: For more information about the new TAVR procedure at UCLA, please visit www.uclahealth.org/TAVR or contact 310-206-8232.

Related Stories

UofL physicians, Jewish Hospital first in Kentucky to offer new aortic valve replacement

January 3, 2012
Some individuals with severe aortic stenosis – also known as narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart – who are not well enough to undergo open heart surgery have a new treatment option thanks to a new procedure ...

New option for patients with untreatable, non-perative heart condition

June 28, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- An innovative approach for implanting a new aortic heart valve without open-heart surgery is being offered at Rush University Medical Center to patients with severe aortic stenosis who are at high-risk ...

Heart patients do better with non-surgical valve replacement than standard medical therapy

March 26, 2012
Patients diagnosed with aortic stenosis who are too sick for open-heart surgery have better survival rates and an improved quality of life after undergoing catheter-based heart valve replacement than if the patients had been ...

Study begins of minimally invasive treatment for blocked heart valves

July 13, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Heart experts at Johns Hopkins have begun testing a new device designed to replace blocked aortic valves in patients for whom traditional open-heart surgery is considered too risky, such as elderly patients ...

Heart valve replacement without opening the chest gives new option for non-operable patients

June 24, 2011
An innovative approach for implanting a new aortic heart valve without open-heart surgery is being offered at Rush University Medical Center to patients with severe aortic stenosis who are at high-risk or not suitable candidates ...

Recommended for you

Low-salt and heart-healthy dash diet as effective as drugs for some adults with high blood pressure

November 22, 2017
A study of more than 400 adults with prehypertension, or stage 1 high blood pressure, found that combining a low-salt diet with the heart-healthy DASH diet substantially lowers systolic blood pressure—the top number in ...

Stroke patients may have more time to get treatment, study finds

November 22, 2017
Patients and doctors long have relied on a simple rule of thumb for seeking care after an ischemic stroke: "Time is brain."

Cases of heart failure continue to rise; poorest people worst affected

November 22, 2017
The number of people being diagnosed with heart failure in the UK continues to rise as a result of demographic changes common to many developed countries, new research by The George Institute for Global Health at the University ...

Some cancer therapies may provide a new way to treat high blood pressure

November 20, 2017
Drugs designed to halt cancer growth may offer a new way to control high blood pressure (hypertension), say Georgetown University Medical Center investigators. The finding could offer a real advance in hypertension treatment ...

Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?

November 17, 2017
The buildup of plaque in the heart's arteries is an unfortunate part of aging. But by studying the genetic makeup of people who maintain clear arteries into old age, researchers led by UNC's Jonathan Schisler, PhD, have identified ...

Raising 'good' cholesterol fails to protect against heart disease

November 16, 2017
Raising so-called 'good' cholesterol by blocking a key protein involved in its metabolism does not protect against heart disease or stroke, according to a large genetic study of 150,000 Chinese adults published in the journal ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.