September 25, 2010

The Most Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Replacement

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, Helpful Heart Links, New Heart Studies tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:21 am by keepyourhearthealthy

photo by jscreationzs

Aortic Stenosis Fixed With A Poke Of The Needle?

From my earlier post you will see that there have been several new advances reported this week in cardiology.  The biggest one by far is a study called TAVI or Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation.  This new study has reported some great results with implanting a brand new aortic valve through a simple needlestick during a heart catheterization.

As people get older, the aortic valve frequently becomes hard and narrowed.  This condition is called aortic stenosis.  Aortic stenosis is considered severe when the valve area is less than 1cm².  Greater than 4% of patients over age 85 have aortic stenosis but unfortunately they are considered a poor candidate for traditional open heart surgery to replace the valve by that age. A recent option for older patients has been balloon angioplasty of the valve by heart catheterization but this gives poor results and adds less than a year of optimal results.

The new TAVI study has shown that a prosthetic aortic valve can actually be placed safely over the old, hardened valve by a simple needlestick during heart catheterization.  The results of the study show significant improvement in valve function and much fewer deaths one year after the procedure.  To see a video of this type of procedure, check out the following link:

http://wn.com/Edwards_Sapien_Transcatheter_Heart_Valve

September 24, 2010

Cardiology On The Verge Of Technological Change

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, New Heart Studies tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:16 am by keepyourhearthealthy

GIF-animation showing a moving echocardiogram;...

Image of echocardiogram of heart via Wikipedia

People with heart disease have been on the look-out for newer treatments over the past several years.

It had seemed that cardiology was stagnant for awhile and many patients started to turn to alternative treatments just to see their options.  For the most part, there have been very few monumental advances in heart disease treatment since the development of stents 20+ years ago.

This week has been eye-opening for those patients looking to new treatment options.  Several studies have been reported at various cardiology conferences that could finally lead to some new monumental heart treatments.  The most promising ones are:

  1. Placement of New Heart Valves by Heart Catheterization
  2. Robotically Assisted Ballon Angioplasty and Stent Placement
  3. Left Atrial Appendage Closure for Patients With Atrial Fibrillation
  4. Self-Injections of Nesiritide Improves Function of Heart in Heart Failure

All of these new studies have the potential to bring about major changes in heart disease management.  For people with previously untreated aortic stenosis, they can get a new heart valve put in through a simple needle stick during a heart catheterization.  Cardiologists can provide more efficient care with robotically assisted balloon angioplasty and stenting.  Patients with atrial fibrillation may be able to go off of their Coumadin or other blood thinner if they have a left atrial appendage closure.  Heart failure patients could feel significantly better and avoid hospital stays by giving themselves shots of a heart failure drug at home.

Over the next week I will update you about each of these promising new treatments specifically so check out the upcoming posts for more info!