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Heart Valve Replacements: Study Shows Improved Outcomes

Author: Mansour Assar, M.D., FACC

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, an increasing number of seniors are opting for heart valve replacements – largely due to improved outcomes and reduced procedural complications.

Key Findings: Success & Prevalence of Heart Valve Replacements

Here are a few key findings from the recent article about heart valve disease (and how it’s treated).

  • Data comes from nearly 83 million Medicare patients who had a heart valve replacement between 1999 and 2011.

  • The number of heart valve replacements increased amongst:

    • All age groups

    • Both sexes

    • All race groups

    • Patients aged 75 and older

  • Fewer patients had more invasive bypass surgeries during this period.

  • The readmission rate to the hospital (for a 30-day postoperative period) decreased by 1.1 percent per year, indicating fewer complications and improved recoveries.

  • The death rate for the 30 days following a valve replacement procedure decreased by about 4.1 percent per year between 1999 and 2011.

  • The death rate for one year after the procedure decreased by 2.5 percent.

What the New Heart Valve Disease Information Means for You

The data all points to the improvement of heart valve replacement procedures. As high-risk groups diminish, an increasing number of cardiologists are using the transcatheter aortic valve replacement technique for treating heart valve disease.

In this technique, also known as TAVR, the cardiologist introduces an expandable valve via catheter. The valve is worked through the blood vessels until it arrives at the site of the aortic valve. Once in place, the new artificial valve is inserted within the damaged aortic valve where it takes over for the damaged valve’s function.

This procedure can be performed in a minimally invasive fashion – without opening up the chest. Additionally, the old valve does not have to be removed, which makes for an easier procedures (for both patient and physician).

For more information about heart valve disease and your treatment options, call Advanced Heart & Vascular Institute at 602-507-6002.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.


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