Structural Heart Intervention – Heart Valve Implantation Without Surgery

Patients with aortic stenosis (narrowing of aortic valve) develop significant cardiac symptoms when their aortic stenosis become severe. Such patients should be considered for aortic valve replacement. Whereas open-heart surgery in patients with aortic stenosis is currently still the elective procedure of choice, a high percentage of patients with aortic stenosis may be considered too high risk for this conventional surgery. For those patients, a new and innovative catheter-based procedure called Structural Heart Intervention may provide a healthy alternative to open-heart surgery.

Physicians with dedicated training in Structural Heart Disease Interventions can repair certain heart valves with minimally invasive techniques using catheters, also known as percutaneous or transcatheter valve implants or repair. These artificial valves are purified and attached to a metallic frame, similar to that of a stent. The device is compressed over the surface of a balloon catheter. By creating a small incision at the level of the groin, the surgeon can advance these catheters through the femoral artery or femoral vein to the heart.

Once in place, the balloon is inflated at high pressure to expand and deliver the new artificial valve, which has now substituted the damaged valve. The balloon and catheter is then removed. In other words, the artificial valve, once delivered inside the native one, assumes its function and replaces it without having to remove it.

Structural Heart Program

Experts in structural heart disease treatment are able to replace or repair certain heart valves with minimally invasive techniques using dedicated catheters.

Significant progress has occurred in the field of transcatheter valve therapy, which is the fundamental reason to seek a cardiothoracic surgeon experienced in these techniques. Since its inception and following the very first human percutaneous valve replacement over 15 years ago, thousands of patients world-wide have benefited from this new technology.

Candidates for Transcatheter Aortic Valve replacement (TAVR) may include:

  • Patients with aortic stenosis that are inoperable (meaning that they are at extreme risk for conventional open heart surgery)
  • Patients with aortic stenosis that are simply at high-risk for conventional open heart surgery

Some other examples of heart conditions that can be treated through the Structural and Adult Congenital Heart Intervention Program include:

  • Patent Foramen Ovale
  • Atrial Septal Defect
  • Ventricular Septal Defect
  • Arterio-Venous Malformations
  • Left Atrial Appendage