Hartford Hospital First in Region To Offer New, FDA-Approved Alternative to Open Heart Surgery

February 08, 2012

(Hartford, Conn.) – Hartford Hospital is the first in the region to offer patients who may not be healthy enough for open heart surgery an alternative with the transfemoral delivery of the Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter aortic heart valve (TAVR). The device was FDA approved in November, becoming the first FDAapproved transcatheter device enabling aortic valve replacement without the need for open-heart surgery, offering new hope to patients diagnosed with senile aortic valve stenosis.

On Tuesday, February 7, Hartford Hospital’s cardiothoracic surgeons and interventional cardiologists successfully performed two transcatheter aortic valve replacements. This is the first non-surgical replacement of the aortic valve using the Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve to take place in Connecticut.

Senile aortic valve stenosis is a progressive, age-related disease caused by calcium Senile aortic valve stenosis is a progressive, age-related disease caused by calcium deposits on the aortic valve. This causes the valve to narrow. As the heart works harder to pump enough blood through the smaller valve opening, the heart eventually weakens, which can lead to problems such as fainting, chest pain, heart failure, irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias), or cardiac arrest.

Up to 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from aortic stenosis, and approximately 250,000 of these patients suffer from severe symptomatic aortic stenosis, often with debilitating symptoms that can restrict normal day-to-day activities, such as walking short distances or climbing stairs. These patients can often benefit from surgery to replace their ailing valve, but many patients are not treated because they are deemed inoperable for surgery. Patients who do not receive an aortic valve replacement have no effective, long-term treatment option to prevent or delay their disease progression. Without treatment, severe symptomatic aortic stenosis is life-threatening – studies indicate that 50 percent of patients will not survive more than an average of two years after the onset of symptoms.

“We have found that surgery to replace the aortic valve is an effective treatment for severe senile aortic valve stenosis. But we recognize that it is not an option for everyone. We are thrilled to be the first in the region to offer the SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve (THV) to our patients because it offers hope to those
who cannot undergo open heart surgery,” said Dr. Paul Thompson, Hartford Hospital’s Director of Cardiology. “This is an important option to offer our patients. We know it will have a significant impact on patient care throughout Connecticut and beyond.”

A team of specialists places a collapsible aortic heart valve into the body via a catheter that is inserted through the leg, and threaded up to the heart. The Edwards SAPIEN Valve is designed to replace a patient’s diseased native aortic valve without the need for open-heart surgery or the use of a heart-lung machine.
If you wish to learn more about the Edwards SAPIEN Valve, call 860-545-188s8 or visit: http://www.harthosp.org/TAVR.












Fig. 1 depicts the leaflets of a healthy
aortic heart valve, which open wide to
allow oxygen-rich blood to flow
unobstructed in one direction. The blood
flows through the valve into the aorta
where it then flows out to the rest of the

Fig. 2 depicts the leaflets of a stenotic or
calcified aortic valve unable to open wide,
obstructing blood flow from the left
ventricle into the aorta. The narrowed
valve allows less blood to flow through
and as a result, less oxygen-rich blood is
pumped out to the body, which may cause
symptoms like severe shortness of breath.

Hartford Hospital