With the introduction of catheter-guided intervention, it is now possible to replace defective aortic valves even in patients with significantly increased surgical risk or contraindications for conventional open heart surgery.
The catheter-guided Implantation
Several different types of valves are available. The catheter is usually inserted via the inguinal artery. In defined cases, access can alternatively be made via the apex of the heart or aorta. The body's own aortic valve is not removed, but is displaced from its position by the prosthesis. In this way your heart remains intact, but receives the support it needs.
Access is made at the beating heart. A small incision under the left breast or in the groin is sufficient to guide the special balloon catheter with the artificial valve via the groin artery or the apex of the heart to the heart. Once it reaches the 'motor of life', the balloon unfolds and stretches a ring. The defective natural heart valve is pressed to the side and the artificial heart valve takes its exact place. The heart specialists then pull the catheter back again.
Safety through experience
Since 2009 this procedure has been performed at the Heart Centre Niederrhein about 250 times per year by experienced specialists - a team of interventional cardiologists and heart surgeons. In order to ensure the highest possible level of safety for our patients, we perform transcatheter aortic valve implantations in a high-tech hybrid operating theatre.
Causes of advanced aortic valve Stenosis
Aortic valve stenosis is one of the most common heart valve defects. As a natural "wear and tear" phenomenon, it is usually due to the mechanical stress on the heart valves that has been applied over many years. The semilunar valves harden due to inflammation or progressive calcium deposits. The consequence: the heart valve can no longer open completely. Due to the progressive narrowing of the valve opening, the heart has to pump the blood from the left ventricle into the large aorta against much greater resistance. This leads to an increasing thickening of the heart muscle, which then becomes increasingly exhausted in its efficiency. This process often remains undetected until a significant drop in performance and shortness of breath on exertion, increasing fatigue, chest pain or tightness occur as typical symptoms of advanced aortic valve stenosis.
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