Advances in Minimally Invasive Procedures for Heart Valve Care
Within the heart’s chamber are four primary heart valves: aortic; mitral; tricuspid; and the pulmonary valve. Each is critical for proper blood flow throughout the heart, all acting as one-way valves, letting blood flow from one chamber to another, or allowing blood to flow out of the heart in only one direction. Pressure differences and some heart muscles control the opening and closing of the valves.
Damage to the valves is typically from calcium build-up but may be genetic. The valve damage forces the heart to pump harder than normal even at rest. For example, aortic valve stenosis (narrowing) tends to progress quickly and if left untreated will weaken the heart and lead to more serious problems. Novel minimally invasive procedures are significantly changing the spectrum of heart valve repair and replacement. St.Vincent Heart Center cardiothoracic surgeons and interventional cardiologists are leading the way.
Aortic valve stenosis above shows the narrowing of the heart valve.
Some high-risk patients with severe aortic valve stenosis are not candidates for open-chest surgery. St.Vincent aortic specialists are successfully performing transcatheter aortic valve replacements -- a minimally invasive procedure for aortic stenosis using the recently FDA approved Edwards SAPIEN® Valve. Learn more ».
It’s all about blood flow in and out of the heart and onto other vital organs in the body. If the heart valves are not opening and closing properly it’s like a flood or draught – damage will be done.
Pioneers, Setting a High Standard of Care
St.Vincent Heart Center cardiothoracic surgeons and interventional cardiologists are raising the bar in terms of quality of care standards and next generation techniques for heart valve patients. Our performance standards exceed national standards. We treat more heart valve cases than any other heart care center in the Midwest. Internationally, our cardiologists are invited to speak at numerous medical meetings, recognized for their expertise and innovations in minimally invasive procedures.
Nationally, we are known for pioneering transformative procedures. (For more information see the 2014 Promise and Performance Report entitled “No Boundaries”).
For example, the St.Vincent heart valve team has been doing mitral valve surgery since 1973. Our experience is very deep. Today, minimally invasive mitral valve procedures are the standard of care at St.Vincent Heart Center.
- We were the first heart center to do transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and mitral valve surgery.
- The pioneer spirit continues with minimally invasive MitralClip™ transcatheter mitral valve repair for patient with mitral regurgitation. St.Vincent is a clinical trial site leader for this innovative procedure.
- St.Vincent Heart Center was the first site in Indiana to offer the FDA-approved Edwards SAPIEN® valve for aortic stenosis repair.
Most recently our hybrid operating rooms include a fully equipped catheter lab. These newly configured operating suites are changing how we do surgery, reducing procedural risks, shortening recovery times and improving outcomes. Experience counts when it comes to heart and valve procedures.
The Hallmark of our Health Valve Program is Teamwork
Not every patient is a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure, but what you get at St.Vincent Heart Center is a team approach -- thorough and forward looking – taking into account your personal quality of life goals. It’s not enough to fix the heart function. We are also concerned about total health and well-being. That’s our Caring Spirit.
What to Expect at Your Appointment and Visit to the Heart Center
When you arrive at the St.Vincent Heart Center for your first heart valve evaluation and appointment you will meet many members of our team (cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon, heart valve physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurse educators, and specialty technicians). Diagnosing a heart valve condition involves different diagnostic tests and consultations with several specialists. Each is on the Heart Valve Team for a reason and contributes to a personalized treatment plan. Your day at the heart will be a full one and has many parts:
- Morning diagnostic testing*
- Consultation with a team of specialists
- Individualized treatment plan is presented
- Some insurance plans may alter this schedule causing testing to occur on a follow-up day. Our Heart Center concierge can help you arrange overnight accommodations at local hotels. See Patient and Visitor information.
- For patients who live outside of Indianapolis metro, many of these diagnostic tests can be performed at regional St.Vincent Hospital locations in Central Indiana. Results can then be shared with the Heart Valve Team and a consultation arranged at your convenience. If interested, a Heart Valve Care Coordinator will make the arrangements.
- Know your risk factors for heart valve damage!
- Chest pain or palpitations (rapid rhythms or skips)
- Shortness of breath, difficulty catching your breath, fatigue, weakness, or inability to maintain regular activity level.
- Lightheadedness or loss of consciousness.
- Swollen ankles, feet or abdomen.