Popular Science chose an innovative heart valve replacement as its Grand Award Winner in the health category of the annual “Best of What’s New” awards. The valve is used in a procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a new treatment option at MUSC for patients with severe aortic valve stenosis (narrowing of the aorta). MUSC became the first hospital in South Carolina to perform TAVR in March of 2012.
TAVR is an option for aortic stenosis patients who are too frail to undergo traditional ‘open’ valve replacement surgery.
The valve is made of flaps of cow tissue sewn onto a metal frame. It can collapse from a diameter of about an inch to that of a pencil. The valve is inserted via a small incision in the leg or the chest, and then threaded carefully into place. In trials, patients who received the valve were 40 percent more likely to be alive a year later.
The procedure is performed under general or sometimes local anesthesia without the use of a heart-lung machine, and post-procedure recovery is typically a few days.
Click here to learn more about TAVR at MUSC.