As people are living longer, more ailments are being discovered and with that comes new treatments. Some elderly patients with heart murmurs actually have aortic stenosis, or calcium deposits which cause the valve to not open properly and the heart has to work harder to push the blood through the blocked valve. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fainting, and chest discomfort. A physician may detect a heart murmur during a physical examination that warrants further testing such as an echocardiogram.
There is no medication to treat aortic stenosis.
Danbury Hospital Chief of Cardiology Dr Mark Warshofsky says transcatheter aortic valve replacement is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. This spares patients from some of the trauma of traditional open-heart surgery because it's about 90 minutes compared to a 4-hour procedure.
With this less invasive process, Warshofsky says doctors are able to access the aortic valve through a cut in the groin or a very small opening in the upper chest. It's designed for patients deemed too risky to undergo traditional open heart surgery.
The Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory says TAVR only requires a three-day hospitalization, with a much quicker recovery.