Hospital Checkups: At The Christ Hopsital TAVR spells a new way to treat heart valve patients

CINCINNATI - The Tri-State is home to major hospitals engaged in a wide range of treatment, research and innovative activities. In our "Hospital Checkups" series, WCPO asks each hospital to pick one thing it is doing new or differently in 2014.

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The Christ Hospital

New, life-saving treatment option for heart valve patients

Suppose you start having some scary health issues, like shortness of breath, chest discomfort, dizziness, fainting spells, and difficulty exercising.

Doctors might diagnose you with aortic stenosis . It’s a severe narrowing of the aortic valve that restricts your normal blood flow. Doctors could replace your bad valve with open heart surgery, but what if you’re too frail for the procedure?

In a major initiative at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati , doctors are performing a new, minimally-invasive procedure to treat people with severe aortic stenosis.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is FDA-approved for people who are not good candidates for traditional open heart surgery, due to advanced age or serious medical conditions.

Through a catheter, doctors deliver a new replacement valve to the site.The new valve expands, pushes the diseased heart valve out of the way, and immediately begins to regulate blood flow.

“It’s less invasive. It’s relatively safe, and it fits an ever-growing need in patients who are living longer, otherwise have a reasonable quality of life, but really are at high risk for a traditional surgical valve replacement,” said Ian Sarembock, MD, of the Heart and Vascular Center at The Christ Hospital.

TAVR may also be an option for younger people who have severe narrowing of the aortic valve. The Christ Hospital is holding clinical trials for these patients who are not high surgical risk due to age or serious medical conditions.

Contact The Christ Hospital

Editor's note: On Thursday "Hospital Checkups" visits  Mercy Health, which has launched a lung cancer screening and pulmonary program that allows longtime smokers throughout the Cincinnati area to check the health of their lungs.

Video by Mark Bowen of Mark Bowen Media  and reporting by Gretchen MacKnight.

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