We may soon have a new option to promote for treating aortic stenosis.
Results of a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine show that a new, non-surgical approach could give these high-risk patients a much better shot at living longer with fewer symptoms.
Heart specialists can now implant an artificial valve with a catheter and the whole procedure takes about 90 minutes, compared to an average of six hours for traditional surgery.
The prosthetic valve, made from pieces of a cow valve sewn to a metal frame, is positioned within the patient’s faulty valve, then expanded with a tiny balloon and fixed in place.
Some promising findings from the study:
• One year later, 69 percent of the patients who had the new procedure were still alive, compared to only 49 percent who had the traditional procedure.
• Three-quarters of people who received the new valve were free of cardiac symptoms, or had only mild symptoms, compared to only 42 percent of those who had the older therapy.
There were some negatives. For instance, patients who had the new procedure were more likely to have severe strokes and bleeding from the catheter site in the leg.
While this new procedure is not yet approved by the FDA, with additional improvements, it may be a good alternative for many patients in the future.