Transcatheter Heart Valve and Mitral Valve in Valve Replacement
Specialized Team Approach
The highly specialized cardiovascular team practicing at Good Samaritan
Hospital now offers the Transcatheter Heart Valve and Mitral Valve in
Valve Replacement for patients with a failing surgical bioprosthetic heart valve.
The Heart Valves
The heart is a muscular organ in the chest that is about the size of a fist.
The heart’s main function is to pump blood to the rest of the body.
Each valve usually has two or three leaflets (flaps of tissue) that open
and close like gates to regulate the one-way flow of blood through the heart.
It is important that heart valves are always working properly:
- Be properly formed and flexible
- Open all the way so that the right amount of blood can pass through
- Close tightly so that no blood leaks back into the chamber
There are two problems that can occur in heart valves:
Stenosis: when the valve narrows and does not open completely
Regurgitation: when the valve does not close completely and blood leaks backwards
Who is a Good Candidate for Transcatheter Heart Valve Replacement?
Up to 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from aortic stenosis,
a progressive disease that affects the aortic valve of their hearts. Approximately
250,000 of these patients suffer from severe symptomatic aortic stenosis,
often developing debilitating symptoms that can restrict normal day-to-day
activities, such as walking short distances or climbing stairs. These
patients can often benefit from surgery to replace their ailing valve,
but only approximately two-thirds of them undergo the procedure each year.
Many patients are not treated because they are deemed inoperable for surgery,
have not received a definitive diagnosis, or because they delay or decline
the procedure for a variety of reasons.
Mitral regurgitation (MR) is the most common type of heart valve insufficiency
affecting nearly one in ten people aged 75 years and older – approximately
four million people in the United States alone. MR is a progressive and
life threatening condition that occurs with the leaflets of the mitral
valve do not close completely, causing blood to flow backwards and leak
into the left atrium of the heart during the cardiac cycle. To maintain
an adequate forward flow of blood through the body, the heart compensates
by increasing the size of the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber
of the heart. This requires the heart to work harder, and may raise the
risk of irregular heartbeats, stroke, and heart failure.
Why Surgical Bioprosthetic Heart Valve be Failing?
When the heart valve is replaced with a surgical bioprosthetic heart valve,
over time it may develop stenosis or regurgitation.
With either problem, the heart needs to work harder and may not pump enough
blood to the body. In elderly patients, failing surgical bioprosthetic
heart valves are sometimes caused by the buildup of calcium (mineral deposits)
on the valve’s leaflets.
Eventually, the heart gets weaker. This increases the risk of heart failure
(when the heart cannot keep up with its workload).
Stenosis or regurgitation of the surgical bioprosthetic heart valve can
be a very serious problem.
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