Texas Heart® Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital Among Three Sites in Texas to Offer Innovative Heart Valve Treatment
Two great-grandmothers—Ana Riddel and Anna Jean Irwin—now share more than a first name after both underwent a unique procedure to correct a life-threatening heart valve condition at Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (SLEH) on the same day.
Riddel, 95, and Irwin, 86, both suffered from severe aortic stenosis, in which the aortic valve stiffens and fails to open properly, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood. The condition is more prevalent as people age and not only impacts one’s quality of life, but can lead to heart failure and increased risk of sudden cardiac death.
On April 15, THI-affiliated cardiologist Biswajit Kar, MD, cardiovascular surgeon Joseph Coselli, MD, and cardiologist Pranav Loyalka, MD, implanted an artificial heart valve in each woman using a non-surgical, minimally invasive technique in which they inserted the device attached to a catheter through the groin and threaded it through the femoral artery to the heart. THI at SLEH is one of only three Texas sites in the Medtronic CoreValve® U.S. Pivotal Trial, a clinical trial that is evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the transcatheter aortic valve, CoreValve, which was used in the two procedures. Kar and Coselli are the principal investigators for the clinical trial at THI at SLEH.
Currently, open-heart surgery is the standard treatment for aortic stenosis. Yet, many patients—including those, such as Riddel and Irwin, who are frail or have other complicating medical conditions—are either poor candidates for or are precluded entirely from surgery.
“Surgery is a huge stressor,” Kar said. “While surgical valve replacement has good results overall, many high-risk patients who have the surgery end up in nursing homes and require prolonged rehabilitation, and some do not survive. This new procedure will shorten the length of a hospital stay and reduce the stress on the patient’s body.”
Kar added that the new procedure could change how physicians manage aortic valve disease. Before that can occur, the clinical trial is designed to explore whether the procedure is at least equal to, if not better than, surgery.
The trial has a two-year enrollment period, with patients being followed for five years after implantation. Patients who are considered at high risk or ineligible for aortic valve surgery may be considered for the clinical trial.