SOURCE: Missouri Baptist Medical Center

Missouri Baptist Medical Center

November 21, 2012 08:00 ET

Heart Center at Missouri Baptist Chosen as One of Few in U.S. to Perform Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) Through the Ribs -- Allows Aortic Valve Replacement Without Surgery for High Risk Patients Not Otherwise Eligible for Treatment

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - Nov 21, 2012) - Missouri Baptist Medical Center has been chosen as one of the few heart centers in the U.S. approved to offer transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to treat high risk aortic stenosis patients by implanting a new valve either through the ribs or via an artery in the groin, without open-heart surgery.

With TAVR, a new valve is placed directly inside the diseased one. It is inserted either transfemorally -- through an artery in the leg -- or transapically -- between the ribs. In each approach, the new valve is guided into place through a catheter. 

Initially, the FDA approved TAVR as treatment only for inoperable patients, who were judged by two surgeons as unlikely to recover from open-heart surgery, which is the gold-standard approach to valve replacement.

Over the past five months, cardiologists at Missouri Baptist have successfully completed transfemoral TAVR procedures in 15 inoperable patients with severe aortic stenosis.

Recently, the FDA approved TAVR for operable, but high risk patients, with severe aortic stenosis, giving these patients the option of traditional surgery, or TAVR carried out either transfemorally or transapically, depending on the size of the major arteries to the leg. 

To perform a TAVR procedure, the new valve is crimped and loaded into the catheter-based delivery system and inserted into the body via one of two routes. In the transfemoral approach the guide wire for the catheter is threaded from a major leg artery to the aortic valve. In the transapical approach, the guide wire is threaded via a small incision between the ribs directly through the heart. When positioned inside the diseased valve, the new valve is expanded and immediately functions in place of the patient's diseased aortic valve (see for a video)

Over 1.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from aortic stenosis, with one-third of these patients considered severe. More than 20,000 people die each year from heart valve disease.

Missouri Baptist Medical Center, located in West St. Louis County, is an acute-care hospital known for its top rated Heart Center. It is part of BJC HealthCare.