Mind & Body
New Heart Valve Gives Woman New Lease on Life
8/3/2017 11:56:44 AM

Soft-spoken Clare Biagas, age 85 of Lake Charles, never expected to make history, but that’s exactly what she did when she became the first patient to undergo a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) with the SAPIEN 3 valve at The John and Sylvia Stelly Regional Heart Center at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital. TAVR is the latest minimally-invasive, life-saving innovation for patients who have been determined by a heart team to be inoperable, intermediate or high-risk for open heart surgery. 

The TAVR procedure with the SAPIEN 3 valve enables the placement of a balloon-expandable valve into the heart via a catheter-based approach. It gives new hope to adult patients who suffer from severe aortic valve stenosis and are not suitable candidates for conventional aortic valve surgery. Aortic stenosis– the most common structural heart problem – is a type of valve disease caused by calcium deposits that eventually narrow and stiffen the valve. As it becomes more difficult to pump blood throughout the body, the heart weakens – potentially causing congestive heart failure. Approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from aortic stenosis, with 500,000 within this group suffering from severe aortic stenosis. 

According to Biagas’ physician, Dr. Corey Foster, Interventional Cardiologist with CHRISTUS St. Patrick Health System and Cardiovascular Specialists, Biagas was an ideal candidate for the procedure. "Mrs. Biagas had symptomatic severe aortic stenosis and her symptoms, primarily shortness of breath, had begun limiting her daily activities. Due to some other health conditions, she was not a candidate for traditional open heart valve replacement surgery. Our treatment options for providing her significant improvement were limited before CHRISTUS St. Patrick made this technology available here.” 

With TAVR, a stent-based tissue aortic heart valve is delivered via a catheter, which is inserted through the groin and threaded up to the heart through the arteries. TAVR is performed in a cardiac catheterization lab or hybrid operating room under general anesthesia or conscious sedation. Dr. Foster explains that by combining minimally invasive techniques with the latest catheter technologies, TAVR is an alternative option that is less invasive than conventional surgery and is done while the heart remains pumping, eliminating the need for the heart-lung machine. 

Biagas says she felt better right after her procedure in May, and now, two months later, she is "feeling really good; like my old self again. I’m breathing much better, like normal. That feels great.” She says she wasn’t too worried about being the first to have a new heart procedure. "I trusted Dr. Foster and knew he thought this was the best thing for me. I’m so happy I had it done.” 

Dr. Foster says there have been multiple TAVR cases performed since the inception of the program, all with outcomes that match those of higher volume centers, and there are several more scheduled in the upcoming months. "This technology is changing – and saving – lives right here in Southwest Louisiana. Our Heart Team, comprised of Surgeons, Interventional/Non-Invasive Cardiologists and Anesthesiologists, are proud to work with CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital to continue to improve heart care in our region.” 

For more information on TAVR, call (337)-491-7169.
Posted by: Kristy Armand | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Health

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