Treatments and Services
Saint Luke’s Valve Center uses the latest advances to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients. Patients may undergo such testing as:
- Chest X-ray
- Carotid duplex
- Cardiac MRI
- CT angiogram of chest, abdomen, pelvis
- Cardiac catheterization and coronary angiography
- Pulmonary function tests
- Blood tests
Once all tests are complete, the Valve Center team will meet with you and determine the optimal treatment plan based on your health goals and condition. Our goal is to have patients begin treatment within a few weeks.
For adults with severe aortic stenosis, surgically replacing the aortic valve is the gold standard treatment. During this procedure, surgeons remove the patient’s original valve and replace it with a prosthetic valve.
Prosthetic valves may be bioprosthesis (made from cow or pig tissue) or mechanical (made from metal, plastic, and other materials).
Patients who are deemed inoperable or too high-risk for traditional open heart surgery may undergo a new procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This new procedure allows the diseased native heart valve to be replaced without open heart surgery. In addition to treating patients too high-risk for standard surgery, ongoing research studies available only at Saint Luke’s have allowed us to consider patients who are lower risk for this novel procedure. Potential advantages of transfemoral aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for such patients may include fewer complications and a more rapid and less painful recovery period.
The TAVR procedure was first performed in France in 2002. More than 20,000 patients worldwide have received this heart valve. Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute was one of the first U.S. hospitals to implant this valve.
Some patients are not candidates for the TAVR procedure due to other coexisting medical conditions or disease processes that would preclude the expected benefit from correcting the aortic stenosis.
During TAVR, surgeons make a small incision in the groin. They then snake a small tube up a leg artery to the heart where they place the new valve. For patients whose leg arteries are too small, doctors might make a small incision in the chest instead.
Like all surgeries, TAVR can be risky. However, ongoing research shows that patients can experience fewer complications and a more rapid and less painful recovery period. It is not yet known how long the transcathether valve will last, but current data suggests that it can last at least three to four years. Longer-term studies are still ongoing.
After you’ve undergone your valve procedure, you can receive follow-up care at the Valve Center. Once you have fully recovered from your procedure, you will generally be able to follow-up with your cardiologist or family physician.
However, if you’re participating in a research study, you’ll need to continue follow-up care through Saint Luke’s Valve Center so that we can monitor your health and the valve’s function.