Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. In fact, 1 in 4 deaths every year can be attributed to heart disease, so the stakes are high when it comes to finding effective treatment options.
Fortunately, there have recently been several significant advances in heart disease treatments that are providing effective alternatives to open heart surgery. From minimally-invasive catheter-based techniques to implantable devices that can monitor atrial fibrillation, here are some of the exciting new treatment breakthroughs expert cardiologists and electrophysiologists are offering to improve your cardiovascular health.
A severely damaged heart valve, a condition known as aortic stenosis, can cause shortness of breath, chest discomfort, fatigue, loss of consciousness, or even death if left untreated. Many patients with heart valve disease are older or too ill to withstand open-heart surgery. However, TAVR is a new surgical procedure that can replace your aortic valve without a major operation.
Approved by the FDA in 2011, TAVR is performed by inserting a small catheter into the femoral artery and using advanced imaging techniques to guide the instrument into the chambers of the heart. Through this catheter, a collapsed tissue heart valve is routed into position and placed directly inside the diseased valve. Then, a balloon is inflated to expand the new valve, which starts to function immediately.
The best part about TAVR? Recovery is quick, and patients are typically discharged within one to three days!
Atrial Fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia, which can cause a heart to beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. People with AF have an increased risk for stroke, and can experience symptoms like chest pain, heart failure, or even no symptoms at all. Cryoablation for atrial fibrillation is a new minimally-invasive, FDA-approved procedure that can disable the heart cells that cause AF and restore the heart’s normal rhythm.
During cryoablation, an electrophysiologist inserts a balloon catheter into a blood vessel in the upper leg and uses advanced imaging techniques to thread the tube through the body until it reaches the heart. Once the catheter reaches the area of the heart that opens to the pulmonary vein, the electrophysiologist exposes the small amount of heart tissue that is causing the erratic electrical signals to extreme cold energy. The heart then returns to a normal, healthy rhythm.
Trying to figure out why you are having fainting spells can be incredibly frustrating. A standard electrocardiogram (ECG) can monitor what happens to your heart rhythm during a five-minute period, but that is not very helpful if the abnormality occurs infrequently. Implantable loop recorders are much more effective at answering your questions because they can continuously monitor your heart’s rhythm for up to three years!
Implanting the loop recorder is a minor surgical procedure typically done in a doctor’s office with a local anesthetic. The doctor will make a tiny incision in your chest, insert a device that is smaller than a thumb drive, and close up the incision. The loop recorder will monitor the electrical impulses of your heart and automatically transmit the data to your doctor via the internet and wireless technology. All you need to do is keep the transmission monitor by your bed so transmissions can occur while you sleep.
To find out more information about the latest surgical procedures for cardiovascular health, contact our professional cardiology team today!