A failing aortic valve had left 87-year-old outdoorsman Wylie Roberts with a significant lack of energy and shortness of breath. Now, with the help of a less-invasive valve repair procedure at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, Roberts is looking forward to working in his yard again and attending local high school football games.
Interventional cardiologists, non-invasive cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons on the medical staff had a role in the procedure.
“I did all of my gardening, went fishing, fixed things around the house and loved going to Aggie football games,” Roberts said. “But for the last 15 years or so I couldn’t stand for long periods of time and would get tired easily, so I had to take a break from all of that.”
The procedure, known as a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), utilizes a transfemoral approach near the groin area for placing the stent valve as opposed to open-heart surgery.
“Normally, the patient would receive an incision along the chest but with this approach we repaired Roberts’ calcified aortic valve with a valve mounted in a stent, through the use of a catheter inserted in the common femoral artery,” said Dr. James Park, medical director of heart & vascular services and the cardiac cath lab at Texas Health Dallas, and Presbyterian Heart & Vascular Group physician, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice. “We were able to place the new valve in the position of the native valve.”
Once the stent valve is inflated and catheter removed, it displaces the original valve leaflets and begins regulating blood flow to the heart.
“You can tell immediately that it works,” Park added. “It’s really a beautiful thing to see.”
The use of imaging was important both before and during the procedure. An echocardiogram and CT scan determined the best equipment for the patient; it also confirmed the valve was functioning properly. Then an ultrasound assisted the interventional cardiologist with a view of his progression and placement of the stent valve.
A team approach is also key to the success of this procedure. Interventional cardiologists, non-invasive cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons on the medical staff each had a role in the valve repair which took place in a hybrid operating room.
“I don’t think you could have performed this as safely or efficiently as we did without the use of a hybrid OR,” said Dr. J. Mark Pool, cardiovascular surgeon on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas and CVT Surgical Associates physician, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice. “It has the capabilities of a cath lab complete with imaging but the functionality of a full operating room.”
Patients such as Roberts who are at a higher risk during an open heart procedure can benefit significantly from this less-invasive procedure, Pool said. Typically, a patient would be hospitalized for five to seven days, but it’s reduced to a short two to three day stay baring any surgical complications.
Once the stent valve is inflated, it displaces the original valve leaflets and begins regulating blood flow to the heart.
“In future patients I think we’ll see that patients may be able to go home the next day,” Park said.
A month after the procedure, Roberts says he’s feeling good and finds he can walk frequently without shortness of breath.
“I think he will continue to see a dramatic change in his symptoms as he returns to his normal activities,” said Dr. Jorge Cheirif, chief of cardiology at Texas Health Dallas and Presbyterian Heart & Vascular Group physician, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice. “It’s essentially given this man his life back.”
To learn more about this procedure or the Heart Valve Center at Texas Health Dallas, visit TexasHealth.org/DallasHeartandVascular or call 214-345-2678.
For more information about Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org/Dallas.