Millions of patients with heart valve problems can now benefit without open-heart surgery
The thought of an open-heart surgery makes one anxious, as it involves days of hospitalization, a long recovery period, the possibility of infections, etc. But, what if someone told you that patients with heart valve problems can now get treated without major surgery! This new age non-surgical technique to replace a poorly functioning heart valve is called TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation).
66-year-old Naren Sharma (name changed) suffered from aortic valve stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart due to calcification). The patient had a history of uncontrolled diabetes, poor heart & kidney functioning (heart was functioning at just 30%), reduced respiratory capacity & was obese – all factors which made him a high-risk candidate for open-heart surgery.
In the last few days, he started experiencing severe shortness of breath & fatigue (functioning of the heart valve had deteriorated further) thus, necessitating the need for an immediate valve replacement. Conventionally, the open-heart surgery is performed to replace the damaged heart valve; but considering the patients’ medical history non-surgical valve replacement via TAVI was considered the most appropriate by the Heart Team at Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Jaipur. The TAVI procedure was performed, and the patient was discharged from the hospital on the second-day post-procedure itself.
TAVI & its benefits:
TAVI is done through a small incision in the upper leg – the opening is used for the bio-prosthetic valve to travel up to the heart valve site.
- The whole procedure is done under conscious sedation (patient is awake throughout)
- The procedure is minimally invasive; the patient can be completely active from the next day itself
- Boon for patients who are deemed non-suitable or too high risk for open-heart surgery
- High success rate, negligible (if any) complications
The incidence of aortic valve stenosis is relatively high in India and is more common in men than women. Till a few years ago, open-heart surgery to replace the damaged heart valve was the only treatment option available. However now, TAVI has brought a ray of hope for patients who are deemed non-suitable or too high risk for open-heart surgery to treat the aortic valve stenosis.