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June 2011

June 2011

Yale-New Haven Hospital studying
alternative to open-heart aortic valve surgery

What the news means to you

Craig Thompson, MD, is an interventional cardiologist at Yale-New Haven Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine.
Elefteriades, MD
is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Yale-New Haven Hospital and the William W. L. Glenn Professor of Surgery at Yale School of Medicine.

Aortic stenosis is a heart condition that occurs when the aortic valve narrows, preventing it from properly opening and closing, and diminishing blood flow between the heart and the rest of the body. The reduced blood flow increases pressure within the heart, causing the heart to weaken and function poorly. Symptoms of the disease can include fatigue, dizziness, chest pain or pressure, heart murmur, shortness of breath during activity, heart palpitations and fainting.

When aortic stenosis becomes severe and symptoms develop, it is life-threatening. As many as 50 percent of aortic stenosis patients with severe symptoms may die within one year without appropriate treatment. Aortic stenosis primarily affects older people and occurs at higher rates in men than in women.

The standard treatment for patients with severe aortic stenosis is an open chest surgical procedure known as aortic valve replacement (AVR). Some patients are at high risk for surgery, or are altogether ineligible for surgery and are not appropriate candidates for AVR.

Yale-New Haven Hospital is currently involved in a clinical trial of a non-surgical alternative to AVR called transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) using the CoreValve System. This is a new technology that replaces a diseased aortic valve percutaneously, meaning through the skin, primarily through a small opening in the femoral artery. In this trial, the replacement valve is delivered through a small opening in the femoral artery, threaded through arteries and across the aorta, and deployed in the aortic valve. Once in place, the CoreValve is designed to take over the native valve's function and ensure that oxygen-rich blood flows into the aorta and circulates throughout the body without open-heart surgery and without surgical removal of the diseased valve.

Yale-New Haven is currently enrolling patients for this trial. For more information about the CoreValve System, or to inquire if you are eligible for the trial, please call 203.483.3115 or toll free 855.205.1755.

Learn more about Yale-New Haven Hospital's Heart and Vascular Services.

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