Aortic Stenosis Treatment and More at AMS Cardiology
Aortic stenosis is a disease in which the aortic valve leaflets become stiff, calcified and less “pliant.” This makes it more difficult for the left ventricle (the main pumping chamber of the heart) to eject blood. Consequently, the heart muscle tries to adapt during which pressure rises within the ventricle. Ultimately and usually after a long latency period, patients may develop chest discomfort or shortness of breath with exertion or may get lightheaded or even pass out.
Aortic stenosis is generally a disease of the elderly. Patients typically develop symptoms in their late seventies or eighties. Occasionally patients will present earlier; these patients often have a congenitally abnormal valve (bicuspid or 2-leaflet valve rather than the usual 3 leaflets). However, the vast majority of patients with this disease are elderly. There is no medical treatment for this condition nor any medicines that make the valve leaflet open more freely. There are also no medicines that have been shown to reliably slow the progression of the disease.
What Is AVR?
Until recently, the only therapy was surgical: aortic valve replacement. Both mechanical and bioprosthetic (tissue) valves are used with mechanical valves generally reserved for the younger age population. Aortic valve replacement surgery is major and requires sternotomy in most instances.
What Is TAVR?
Recently a new technique, TAVR or transcatheter aortic valve replacement, has become available. With this technique, a team of cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons first “balloon” or stretch the native valve to create some room and then implant a new tissue valve all through a catheter inserted usually through the femoral artery in the groin. The patient is spared a sternotomy and recovery time may be substantially shortened. At present, this technique is restricted to patients judged to be high-risk surgical candidates. This may very well change as we gain more experience with transcatheter aortic valve replacement.
Before Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery
Before undergoing aortic valve replacement surgery, patients typically go through a thorough evaluation including imaging tests and a discussion of their medical history. The surgical team will assess the most suitable approach and type of valve replacement based on individual patient characteristics.
Recovery from Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery
Recovery from aortic valve replacement surgery varies depending on the approach used and the patient’s overall health. While traditional open-heart surgery may require a longer recovery, minimally invasive techniques often lead to a quicker return to normal activities. Cardiac rehabilitation may be recommended to help patients regain strength and cardiovascular fitness after surgery.
Why Choose AMS Cardiology for Aortic Stenosis Treatment?
Choosing the right cardiologist for aortic stenosis treatment is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your health and well-being. Aortic stenosis is a serious condition that requires specialized care and expertise. At AMS, our cardiologists have extensive experience in all aspects of treatment and care for this condition. If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with one of our cardiologists or want to learn more about this disease, contact us today. We proudly serve residents throughout Abington and Montgomery County PA.