Thursday, January 28, 2010
Sunnybrook adopts new heart procedure to treat a condition that is common among elderly patients (Canada)
A new program at Sunnybrook's Schulich Heart Centre is improving access to a potentially lifesaving heart procedure for elderly or frail patients not well enough to undergo traditional aortic valve replacement surgery. With the introduction of the PAVI program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, patients who are considered too high risk for conventional open-heart surgery to replace or repair the aortic valve may be candidates for a substantially less invasive procedure. In this procedure, a team of doctors including an Interventional Cardiologist, Cardiac Surgeon and Vascular Surgeon are able to implant a new valve percutaneously (without opening the chest). "Surgical replacement of the diseased valve with an artificial one is considered the best treatment for aortic valve stenosis," says Dr. Sam Radhakrishnan, Interventional Cardiologist and Physician-Lead of the Percutaneous Aortic Valve Intervention (PAVI) program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. "Unfortunately, many of the patients we see with this condition have significant co-existing medical issues that render them unable to withstand the physical trauma of open-heart surgery. In the past, we have had to treat these patients with drugs alone, which is proven to be less effective than with valve replacement"