twitter Tweet

OHSU first on West Coast to implant heart valve using newly approved technique

FDA approval of transapical approach offers patients with severe hardening of the arteries a new lease on life

The OHSU Heart Valve Team has successfully performed the West Coast’s first non-investigational transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in a patient with severe aortic stenosis using a transapical approach in which a catheter (hollow tube) is inserted into the patient’s heart through a small incision between the ribs.

The FDA approved this approach for patients with severe aortic stenosis just last week, and on Oct. 26, an Oregon resident was among the nation’s first beneficiaries of this revolutionary technology outside of a clinical trial.

The OHSU interventional cardiologist who helped plan and perform the procedure, Saurabh Gupta, M.D., said: “The procedure went flawlessly, a testament to our strong team and our experience placing valves through arteries in the groin.”

Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart that causes the valve to fail to open and close properly and replacement is the only definitive treatment option. Until recently, patients with aortic valve narrowing had only one option: open-heart surgery.

TAVR itself is a relatively new treatment option for aortic stenosis. It was FDA-approved in November 2011, and OHSU’s multidisciplinary cardiac team began using it shortly thereafter.

Candidates for this procedure include patients with aortic valve disease who are not able to undergo traditional open-heart surgery because they are too fragile or have other complications or diseases that make open-heart surgery too risky.

“In this case, we couldn’t use the patient’s groin because the arteries were severely occluded,” said Matthew Slater, M.D., the cardiothoracic surgeon who helped perform the implant. “This patient is one of several who have been anxiously awaiting approval of this procedure.”

The complex procedure requires the unique expertise of a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including an interventional cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon, anesthesiologist, interventional radiologist, cardiac imaging and critical care nurses.

Heart Valves at OHSU

The first artificial heart valve was co-invented and successfully implanted by pioneering OHSU cardiovascular surgeon Albert Starr, M.D. The Starr-Edwards valve ushered in a new era in cardiovascular medicine around the world and saved and prolonged the lives of hundreds of thousands of people with heart disease for which heart valve replacement was the only treatment.

OHSU continues to lead the way in valve treatment with innovative approaches such as percutaneous pulmonary valve implantation – a revolutionary option for treating pulmonary valve conduit failure without open heart surgery. OHSU is the only hospital in Oregon and one of only a small number of programs in the country to offer this FDA-approved procedure.

The OHSU Heart Valve Team is co-directed by Drs. Saurabh Gupta and Matt Slater. The team comprises of physicians from Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Radiology, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Critical Care, nurses and physicians assistants. This multidisciplinary approach and the creation of the heart valve clinic places the patient at the center of the team.

In September 2012 OHSU established a new cardiovascular institute through a visionary $125 million philanthropic investment from Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight and his wife, Penny. It is the largest gift ever recorded to advance cardiovascular health in the United States. This integrated center of translational research, clinical care, education and disease prevention is dedicated to becoming the world’s best at translating research into clinical innovations to benefit patients by attacking heart disease from every angle, before conception and throughout a person’s lifetime.

Previous Story OHSU Doernbecher, Massachusetts General team up to help troubled youth in the Pacific Northwest Next Story OHSU researchers discover how enzyme may prevent nervous system repair in multiple sclerosis