Virtua Health Leads in Minimally Invasive Valve Repair and Replacement
Your heart’s valves are essential for maintaining the one-way blood flow through your heart. But some valves are deformed at birth, become stiff with age, or are injured by infections and other diseases.
The heart valve specialists at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital treat a range of these disorders using the most advanced procedures like TAVR and MitraClip. Our interventional cardiologists have teamed with our heart surgeons to create one of the top programs in the state and the region for valve procedures, with a focus on minimally invasive approaches.
Minimally invasive surgery, sometimes aided by the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, can repair valves without separating the breastbone or stopping the heart, resulting in less pain and a quicker recovery.
Aortic Valve Conditions
Whenever possible, our experienced heart specialists will repair or replace a patient’s heart valve by using a nonsurgical approach. Treatments include:
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR): TAVR uses a catheter threaded through an artery to insert a new valve inside your heart. Once opened with a special balloon, the new valve pushes aside the old one and begins to work immediately. Patiently usually spend only one night in the hospital.
In certain TAVR patients at high risk for complications, our team uses a new procedure called BASILICA (Bioprosthetic Aortic Scallop Intentional Laceration to Prevent Iatrogenic Coronary Artery). BASILICA prevents the valve from blocking the coronary artery.
- Minimally invasive surgical aortic valve replacement (miniAVR): In patients who are not candidates for TAVR, the valve is replaced through several small incisions in the chest.
- Balloon valvuloplasty: A catheter with a tiny balloon on the tip is guided through an artery to the valve. The balloon is inflated, expanding the valve’s leaflets, much in the same way that balloon angioplasty expands coronary arteries. The balloon is then withdrawn. This helps the valve to move better afterwards, leaving it freer to open efficiently. Valvuloplasty is an alternative to TAVR or open-heart surgery for treating a hardened, narrowed heart valve.
Mitral Valve Conditions
There are several types of mitral valve disease, including mitral valve regurgitation, when the flaps (leaflets) of the valve don’t close tightly and allow blood to flow backward. This often is caused by the valve leaflets bulging back, a condition called mitral valve prolapse. In another condition, called mitral valve stenosis, the leaflets can become stiff and narrow, limiting blood flow.
- MitraClip: A tiny clip is placed at the end of a catheter and threaded through the blood vessels in the heart. The clip clamps the leaflets of the mitral valve into a more secure position when they're closed, but still allows the valve to open and function. This procedure is for patients with severe degenerative mitral valve regurgitation caused by a physical defect of the valve but who aren't good candidates for traditional open-heart surgery. Recovery from the procedure is quick and the benefits usually noticeable right away.
- Transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR): Similar to a TAVR, a catheter is threaded through an artery to insert a new mitral valve inside your heart. Once opened with a special balloon, the new valve pushes aside the old one and begins to work immediately. In April 2019, the Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes cardiac team performed the first mitral valve replacement in a pregnant woman. The procedure was successful and the woman delivered a healthy baby boy in October 2019.
- Minimally invasive surgical mitral valve repair (miniMVR): During miniMVR, the surgeon may trim excess tissue from valve flaps to help them seal tightly, add a ring-like collar at the base of the valve for support and stabilization, or enhance the connections of the valve to the heart.
- Balloon valvuloplasty