Winston-Salem, NC -- It may look a bit odd and not like something that should be inside your body, but for some heart patients it's a welcoming site.
Cardiologists and surgeons at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center are now performing Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) with the Edwards SAPIEN valve. The device was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in November 2011.
In early May, doctors successfully performed two procedures using the TAVR and both patients are recovering and are in good condition, according to a news release from the hospital.
TAVR is a new, non-surgical treatment option for people with severe aortic stenosis (narrowing of the heart valve), who are not eligible for aortic valve replacement surgery. It's considered a hybrid procedure and is performed by both an interventional cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon. They create a small incision in the groin and feed a wire mesh valve through a catheter from the femoral artery in the leg to the heart. The procedure is performed while the heart is beating and eliminates the need for traditional open heart surgery, which requires a surgeon to cut through the breastbone, stop the heart, remove and replace the existing valve.
Before the FDA approval of TAVR, non-operable or high-risk patients with severe aortic stenosis were limited to either being treated with medications or undergoing procedures to temporarily open their valves.
Source: Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center