By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Cardiac patients who are considered too high-risk to undergo traditional heart valve replacement surgery are getting a new lease on life, thanks to doctors at the Maimonides Heart & Vascular Center, who are using an innovative procedure to save them.
The transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, involves the treatment of severe aortic stenosis (a narrowing of the aortic valve opening).
Instead of standard open-heart surgery, a balloon catheter is placed in the femoral artery and guided into the heart. A compressed heart valve is then placed in the catheter and positioned directly inside the diseased aortic valve. Once in position, the balloon is inflated to secure the valve in place.
Maimonides Medical Center, which runs the Heart & Vascular Center at 4802 10th Ave. in Borough Park, was one of the first hospitals in the US to offer the TAVR procedure, according to Dr. Jacob Shani, chairman of cardiology at Maimonides.
“Only a handful of heart centers in the nation are able to provide this option for heart valve patients. Our team of experts is unrivaled in exploring and developing the best therapies for cardiac problems,” Shani said.
Dr. Greg Ribakove, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Maimonides, called the TAVR procedure “the best option” for patients who can’t undergo open-heart surgery. “TAVR is minimally invasive, with all the benefits that implies,” he said.
Ribakove and Shani are the co-leaders of the hospital’s TAVR team.
Patients who underwent the procedure at Maimonides said they were pleased by the results.
“I had lost hope of ever feeling better,” said Grace Young, who added that she had been told by doctors at other hospitals that she had no options. “I feel like a whole new chapter of my life began at the age of 78! Everyone with this valve problem should speak to the folks at Maimonides and get their lives back."
Young underwent the procedure last year.
In clinical trials, TAVR has been shown to significantly improve survival compared to non-surgical therapy, according to medical experts at Maimonides. The TAVR approach is approved by the FDA for patients who have severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis and who are not eligible for open-heart surgery.
To learn more about TAVR call Maimonides Medical Center at 718-283-8284 or visit http://maimo.md/K79sNJ.