NJ Hospital Among First In Nation To Offer Aortic Valve Replacement Procedure

NEW BRUNSWICK-Physicians at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) and UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) are among the first in the nation to offer a groundbreaking aortic valve replacement technique that provides new treatment options and hope for patients diagnosed with severe aortic valve disease who are suffering from end-stage heart disease.

The Cardiovascular Center of Excellence at RWJ was recently selected by Edwards Lifesciences to be one of the first sites in the nation to offer Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) since the procedure received FDA approval.

TAVR allows a multidisciplinary team of cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists and cardiac anesthesiologists at RWJUH and RWJMS to replace a patient’s diseased aortic valve without using traditional open-heart surgery and while the heart continues to beat, avoiding the need for cardiopulmonary bypass.

In performing the TAVR procedure, the valve is pinched to fit onto a catheter-based transfemoral delivery system, which is inserted into the body through a small cut in the patient’s groin area. Once delivered to the site of the patient’s diseased valve, the replacement valve is expanded with a balloon and immediately functions in place of the patient’s existing valve. Major surgical incisions are not required, which creates less stress on medically compromised patients and can lead to faster recovery times.

“This innovative technique provides a new option for patients who have been diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis and need valve replacement, but may be too high risk for open heart surgery,” explains Mark B. Anderson, Professor and Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. “TAVR can contribute to an enhanced quality of life for these patients, many of whom have no other options.”

RWJUH and RWJMS anticipate making TAVR available to patients in early 2012. For information about TAVR, visit rwjuh.edu/TAVR.

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