Minimally-Invasive Heart Valve Replacement Procedure Now Offered at CMH
More Aortic Valve Stenosis Patients Will be Treated Locally and Minimally Invasively
The new heart catheterization lab at Community Memorial Hospital’s (CMH) Ocean Tower in Ventura has added another procedure to the growing list of minimally invasive heart procedures CMH now offers: the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
TAVR is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that repairs a narrowed heart valve without removing the old, damaged valve. Instead, an artificial valve is placed in the aortic valve through the femoral artery (the large artery in the groin) using a long catheter. There’s no large surgical incision in the chest. Once the new valve is expanded, the tissue in the replacement valve regulates blood flow from the heart to the body. Previously, heart valve replacements required riskier open-heart surgery in which the sternum is surgically separated, which typically required longer recovery for patients.
“The TAVR procedure is reducing the need for open-heart surgeries in some instances and hastening patient recovery,” said Dr. Omid Fatemi, the Community Memorial Health System Medical Director of Structural Heart and High Risk Revascularization.
“This procedure has become more common,” Dr. Fatemi continued. “Patients can have their treatment locally. Rather than travel far distances, patients stay close to their families. This helps our entire community, especially our elderly and frail patients. It gives people a new lease on life in a very practical way,” Dr. Fatemi said.
The newly opened Ocean Tower’s state-of-the-art cath lab allows CMH to expand its line-up of heart procedures that couldn’t be performed in the old hospital. Within the first week, four successful TAVR procedures have been completed at CMH, and more are planned for the near future.
The Ocean Tower cath lab has four procedure rooms and a fifth is expected to be added by next year. The new, expanded cath lab also features start-of-the art imaging equipment with superior imaging quality and new, superior diagnostic and ultrasound equipment.
TAVR is an FDA-approved procedure for people with aortic valve stenosis who are considered an intermediate or high-risk for open-heart valve replacement surgery. The FDA approval has expanded over the past few years with the outstanding results that have been achieved with this technology.
Aortic valve stenosis is when the heart’s aortic valve narrows, often from aging and genetic risk factors. The narrowing prevents the valve from opening fully and obstructs the blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. According to the American Heart Association, aortic stenosis can cause chest pain, fainting, fatigue, leg swelling and shortness of breath. It can also lead to heart failure and sudden cardiac death. Approximately 2.5 million people, or 12.4 percent of the population, in the United States over 75 has aortic stenosis.
The Structural Heart Program at the new CMH offers minimally invasive procedures for heart problems, and most patients can go home the next day. Procedures include TAVR, ASD and PFO closure, and the WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Implant for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) who can take warfarin but seek a non-drug alternative to reduce their risk of AF-related stroke.