Even in her late 80s, Tampa resident Marjorie Green enjoys an active lifestyle with her family. But her heart wasn’t able to keep up with the rest of her body, and Marjorie was one of thousands of Floridians suffering from severe aortic stenosis – a narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart.
Unfortunately, age and other health complications did not allow Marjorie to undergo traditional open-heart aortic valve surgery, a procedure that repairs the aortic valve so it can once again pump more blood through the body, a necessary biological process required to stay alive.
“My mom was destined to die of heart failure because of her aortic stenosis; we were told there was nothing that could be done because she was inoperable,” says Marjorie’s daughter, Lesley Green. “And then we got a call referring my mom to Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute because they were starting a brand new procedure, and it saved my mom’s life. Even though she’s 88 years old, she is vibrant and has so much life left in her. This new procedure at Pepin Heart is a perfect blessing at the perfect time for my mom and the rest of our family.”
This new “minimally-invasive” valve procedure is performed in the Cath Lab at Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute and it’s known as a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (called TAVR by heart experts). TAVR is performed on a beating heart and does not require cardio-pulmonary bypass or opening the chest like traditional valve surgery. While up to 1.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from aortic stenosis, approximately 500,000 are like Marjorie and considered inoperable with a “severe stenosis” diagnosis.
“This is a significant breakthrough for those half-million patients currently suffering from severe stenosis; in Tampa Bay, we’re now able to help our patients extend their lives and quality of life,” said Dr. Marc Bloom, chief of cardiovascular & thoracic surgery at Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute and one of the surgeons and interventional cardiologists comprising the Pepin Heart Institute TAVR team.
How the TAVR Procedure Works
A balloon aortic heart valve – made by Edwards Life Sciences – is placed into the body via a catheter-based transfemoral (through the groin) delivery, just like a routine diagnostic heart catheterization or the placement of a stent for a blocked artery.
Named the Edwards SAPIEN Valve, it’s the first and only transcatheter aortic valve approved for use in the U.S. at accredited facilities such as the Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute.
In November2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the SAPIEN Transcatheter Heart Valve for the treatment of patients with severe aortic valve stenosis who have been determined by a cardiac surgeon to be inoperable for open-heart aortic valve replacement.
“This new technology, in a minimally-invasive way, is truly incredible and helped save my mom’s life,” said Lesley Green, whose mother Marjorie was the first of three TAVR patients at Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute this month. “We were so blessed to discover Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute and its cardiovascular expertise at the exact moment my mom needed their help. We’re looking forward to seeing my mom get back to her activities and enjoy a good quality of life that she deserves.”
Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute is the first hospital in Tampa and Hillsborough County to perform TAVR. The hospital expects to perform up to 100 TAVR procedures in 2012. The American Heart Association estimates tens of thousands of men and women in Tampa Bay are living with severe aortic stenosis.
The Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute TAVR team is composed of: Dr. Marc Bloom, chief of cardiovascular & thoracic surgery; Dr. Charles Lambert, medical director and interventional cardiologist; Dr. Reynaldo Mulingtapang, interventional cardiologist; Dr. Carlos Leche, interventional cardiologist; Dr. Jordan Hopkins, interventional cardiologist; Dr. David Varlotta, anesthesiologist, and cardiovascular & thoracic surgeon Dr. Richard Morrison.