Saudi doctors successfully replace aortic valve without open-heart surgery

Abu Dhabi: A medical team at Prince Mohammad bin Nasser Hospital in Jazan has succeeded in replacing an aortic valve without open-heart surgery on a patient, local media reported.

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Saudi surgeons successfully used the less-invasive technique, known as TAVR, on the patient who was suffering from severe aortic valve stenosis, with weakness in the heart muscle.

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The patient has recovered and was discharged from the hospital.

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The one-way valve inside your aorta opens to allow blood to surge from the heart to the rest of your body. But as you age, the valve’s leaflets may stiffen and become clogged with calcium deposits, restricting blood flow.

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About 12% of people ages 75 or older have this condition, known as aortic stenosis. Symptoms include feeling dizzy, faint, tired, and breathless. Unless the valve is replaced, half of people with symptoms from aortic stenosis die within two years.

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Until recently, open-heart surgery was the only option for replacing the valve. But a treatment called transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, offers a less invasive alternative with an easier, shorter recovery.

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Traditional valve replacement surgery involves having your chest cracked open and going on a heart-lung bypass machine, followed by a week or so in the hospital and a lengthy recovery. It’s risky for everyone but especially for older people, who tend to be frail and have other health problems. Doctors use an online tool that accounts for those issues to estimate a person’s risk of dying during the surgery. Anything higher than 8% is considered high risk. In that case, TAVR is an option.

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