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Methodist Heart Hospital Participating in Clinical Trial to Expand Patient Access to Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Replacement

Methodist Healthcare July 21, 2017

Methodist Heart Hospital is participating in a clinical research trial assessing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for low risk aortic stenosis patients who have traditionally been treated with surgical aortic valve replacement.

The hospital team is currently evaluating low-risk patients for enrollment and possible treatment with TAVR.   The minimally invasive procedure is currently available only to intermediate risk and high/extreme risk patients.

The trial is studying aortic stenosis patients who are considered low risk for standard open heart surgery, meaning that at this time they are not eligible for the less invasive TAVR procedure.  Access to TAVR by participating in this FDA-approved study could potentially provide a new treatment option to this patient population.

Aortic stenosis is a common heart problem caused by a narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve due to, excessive calcium deposited on the valve leaflets.  When the valve narrows, it does not open or close properly, making the heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body.  Eventually, this causes the heart to weaken and function poorly, which may lead to heart failure and increased risk for sudden cardiac death.

The clinical trial is investigating a minimally invasive procedure called the CoreValve®  Evolut® R System, which replaces a diseased aortic heart valve through a minimally invasive procedure without open-heart surgery.  The device is typically inserted via an artery in the leg and then guided through the arteries into the heart.   Once in place, the device expands and takes over the original valve’s function to enable oxygen-rich blood to flow efficiently out of the heart.

“The TAVR procedure has made such an impact on prolonging the lives of many seniors and I now look forward to this evolution of TAVR to help even more patients suffering from aortic stenosis.  Methodist is currently the only hospital conducting this trial in South Texas and it is a tribute to the great outcomes we have had over the last few years,” states Jorge Alvarez, MD.

The study will involve 1,200 patients at up to 80 sites throughout the country.  To learn more about this procedure, eligibility and risks, contact the South Texas Heart Valve Center at Methodist Heart Hospital at 210-575-4195.

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