Atlanta, Ga. (November 5, 2012) – Nearly 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from aortic stenosis, a progressive heart valve disease that narrows or obstructs the aortic valve of the heart. Piedmont Heart Institute now offers this cutting-edge, heart valve replacement option for patients suffering from aortic stenosis.
The recently FDA-approved Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter aortic heart valve provides a treatment option for patients at high-risk for aortic stenosis and patients who were previously deemed inoperable for traditional open heart surgery. This procedure, called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI), allows the diseased heart valve to be replaced with a balloon-expandable heart valve which enters the body through a catheter typically placed in the leg, eliminating the need for open-heart surgery or stopping the patient’s heart.
“We’re proud to be among the select heart teams across the nation to be performing this procedure,” said Vivek Rajagopal, interventional cardiologist with Piedmont Heart. “Being able to give qualified patients who have previously been considered inoperable and high-risk a chance to get better and have a higher quality of life is rewarding.”
Studies indicate that 50 percent of patients suffering from symptomatic aortic stenosis will not survive more than an average of two years after the onset of symptoms. Aortic stenosis typically occurs in patients 75 years or older. An echocardiogram is often used as a diagnostic tool. Once the aortic stenosis diagnosis has been made, it is imperative treatment is received quickly. Once patients begin exhibiting symptoms, the disease progresses rapidly and can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of aortic stenosis include fainting spells, extreme fatigue, dizziness and chest pain, and can eventually lead to sudden death. Patients with severe aortic stenosis may have trouble with normal day-to-day activities, such as walking short distances or climbing stairs. Many aortic stenosis patients are not treated because they are deemed inoperable for surgery or are unaware of the severity of their condition.
Aortic stenosis is just one form of heart valve disease, which can occur in any single valve or a combination of the four valves. Heart valve disease affects more than five million Americans each year. In May 2012, Piedmont Heart received a $20 million grant from the Marcus Foundation to establish the nation’s first heart valve reference center, which will serve as a one-stop shop for patients with any heart valve problems. The new Marcus Heart Valve Center also will be a resource and training center for physicians wanting to learn the latest advancements in treatment options, increasing heart valve disease patients’ access to care across the country.
To reach Piedmont Heart Institute, call 404-605-2800 or visit piedmonheart.org.