If you have been diagnosed with Aortic Stenosis, you know that receiving treatment is necessary. At St. Vincent Healthcare, we are committed to providing advanced treatment options that suit your unique needs and result in the best outcome for you.
Aortic Stenosis (AS) is the narrowing or tightening of the aortic valve, which prevents blood from flowing through your heart to your body. You may experience symptoms such as pain or tightness in your chest or have difficulty breathing, especially when exercising. However, you may not experience any symptoms at all, and this dangerous disease can go undetected. Without treatment, the survival rate for those with severe AS is 50 percent at two years.
Traditional open heart surgery has long been the gold standard for treating AS. Yet for years, patients who were deemed too high-risk to undergo open heart surgery had no other treatment options – until now.
St. Vincent Healthcare is the first and only facility in Eastern Montana to offer the new Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure in addition to traditional open and minimally invasive heart surgery. TAVR is a less invasive alternative procedure that offers new hope to patients with AS who in the past have had no surgical treatment options due to age, fragility and other chronic illnesses, which place them at exceptionally high risk.
TAVR is the placement of a collapsible aortic valve into the heart through a catheter-based device. Physicians insert the device, which contains the collapsed replacement valve on top of a deflated balloon, into the body through the femoral artery at the groin. This can also be inserted between the ribs if necessary.
Once the valve is in the precise position, the balloon is inflated to deploy the valve within heart. Most importantly, the TAVR procedure enables the physicians to replace a diseased valve while the heart continues to beat – eliminating the need for cardiopulmonary bypass (the use of a heart-lung machine).
Our goal is to help you get back to the life you want to live, as quickly as possible. Because the TAVR procedure is less invasive, it decreases the pain experienced post-operatively and shortens the hospital length of stay. For most patients, recovery time is roughly half that of open heart surgery. TAVR also offers a definitive treatment option and a return to their previous quality of life.
TAVR is not intended for all patients. To qualify, you must meet with a Cardiologist and Cardiothoracic Surgeon and be considered high risk or inoperable for traditional open heart surgery. There are significant risk factors related to this procedure, as is the case with any valve replacement. Our team will discuss these risk factors at length with you and your family prior to scheduling the procedure.