When Patricia Huffstetler's niece told her there was a brand new procedure available that would enable her to receive an aortic valve replacement she was, "elated!" Up until that point, she had been told she was not a viable candidate for the traditional surgery. Patricia, 73, experienced several different risk factors that deemed her "clinically frail" and she was diagnosed with severe aortic valve stenosis. For her, that ultimately meant sit back, continue living a low quality of life and wait for the end to come. Her niece, Alicia Huffstetler, was well aware of the technological advancements now available and the promising possibilites they are able to offer. Alicia works for Edwards Life Sciences, the manufacturer of the Edwards SAPIEN XT transcatheter heart valve used in TAVR (Transcatheter aortic valve replacement) procedures. She travels all over the country to world renown centers representing Edwards Life Sciences. She recommended that Patricia go to The Heart and Valve Center at Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, the only facility in Southeast Texas with the technology, training and experience to perform this life-saving procedure. After 2 years of extensive preparation, rennovations and procedural experience they were ready for their first TAVR patient.
This procedure is for patients that were previously deemed inoperable or at high-risk for surgical aortic valve replacement. The balloon-expandable Edwards SAPIEN XT transcatheter heart valve is delivered via a catheter-based approach without the use of cardiopulmonary bypass. Worldwide, over 70,000 patients have been treated with Edwards Lifesciences’ transcatheter heart valves.
This procedure enables the placement of a collapsible heart valve into the body via a tube-based delivery system (catheter) that can be inserted through multiple access routes, including either an incision in the leg or in between the ribs and threaded up to the heart, or through the front of the chest and then through a small hole in the aorta. The valve is designed to replace a patient’s diseased native aortic valve without traditional open heart surgery and while the heart continues to beat – avoiding the need to stop the patient’s heart and connect them to a heart-lung machine that temporarily takes over the function of the heart and the patient’s breathing during surgery. For many, this is the only option for quality of life in the geriatric patient.
"About 50% of patients diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis, who are deemed inoperable or high-risk, do not live longer than a year," said Graydon Parchmont, Director of the Cardiovascular Cath Lab at Baptist Beaumont Hospital, "This procedure gives those once inoperable patients the chance for a longer, higher quality of life." The day following her successful surgery, Patricia was sitting up in bed eating a scrambled egg and grits breakfast and chatting with her family. She expects to go home within a day or two. Thanks to the TAVR procedure at Baptist Beaumont Hospital, she is looking forward to a long and fulfilled life.