Huntington Memorial Hospital Performs Groundbreaking Minimally Invasive Replacement of Heart Valves

March 26, 2015

Huntington Memorial Hospital is the first facility in the San Gabriel Valley to perform transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive replacement of heart valves. The TAVR procedure is a revolutionary new way to replace an aortic valve without a chest incision or the use of a heart lung machine.

The procedure is performed by a dedicated Huntington Hospital TAVR heart team led by Azhil (Alex) Durairaj, MD, interventional cardiologist and Robbin Cohen, MD, medical director for cardiothoracic surgery, using the Edwards SAPIEN XT Transcatheter Heart Valve, an FDA approved product. During the procedure, the team inserts a valve through a small cut in the patient’s upper leg. The valve is advanced on a balloon catheter through the artery toward the native and leaving the new aortic valve in place.

“At Huntington Hospital, we are committed to being at the forefront of innovation and technology in cardiovascular care,” said Azhil (Alex) Durairaj, MD. “We are driven to provide our patients the best medical care and to be able to treat these patients through a minimally invasive procedure is truly groundbreaking. With our rapidly aging population, a growing number of our patients suffer from severe aortic stenosis. The TAVR technology gives our doctors the ability to offer patients a more productive lifestyle in this phase of their life with specialized treatments for aortic valve and thoracic aortic diseases.”

Approximately 250,000 people in the United States suffer from severe aortic stenosis. These patients tend to be elderly with deteriorating medical conditions, and are often ineligible for traditional open-heart surgery. For these patients there has previously been no effective, long-term treatment option to prevent or delay their disease progression. Without treatment, studies show half of these patients die within an average of two years.

This groundbreaking technology will greatly benefit patients with significant medical issues in a minimally invasive fashion. The aortic valve replacement procedure offers patients considered too ill for traditional open-heart surgery an alternative treatment option. Studies show patients who have received this new device not only live longer, but feel better, and significantly improve their quality of life.

Azhil (Alex) Durairaj, MD

Robbin Cohen, MD

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