The most common valve problems are those of the aortic and mitral valves, which are also the two most commonly repaired or replaced valves. The narrowing of these valves – known as stenosis – is a challenging and potentially life-threatening condition.
A patient with aortic stenosis will eventually need an aortic valve replacement, which is currently performed with open heart surgery in patients who are deemed as low risk for such surgery. It can also be performed during a minimally invasive procedure known as TAVR, in which a catheter is inserted through a small incision in the groin.
The TAVR procedure is performed like a heart catheterization and most patients can go home within 24 hours of the procedure. Leakage in the aortic valve – known as aortic valve regurgitation – is currently treated with a surgical valve replacement.
Mitral stenosis – usually the result of rheumatic heart disease – is usually repaired with a minimally invasive procedure known as a balloon valvuloplasty, in which a balloon is inflated at the tip of a catheter to widen the valve and improve blood flow.
Mitral valve regurgitation – or leakage – is a more common condition and typically requires surgery to repair or replace the valve. Patients deemed high risk for open heart surgery may instead undergo a catheter-based procedure, the Mitraclip, which is performed through a small incision in the groin.
The Mitraclip procedure uses innovative technology to repair the mitral valve without open heart surgery. After this procedure, most patients leave the hospital within 24 hours. This procedure helps to reduce hospitalization time and symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath and leg swelling. Saint Joseph Hospital has been performing the Mitraclip procedure since 2013.
If you are suffering from heart valve disease or have symptoms of this disease, it is important to speak to your physician immediately to determine the cause of the problem.