Aortic Valve Disease Treatment
Aortic Valve Stenosis, Aortic Valve Regurgitation
Duke Heart Center is a high-volume heart valve disease program, and our heart surgeons are among the nation’s top performers in aortic valve repair and aortic valve replacement. We have the skill and experience to evaluate and treat your aortic valve disease, including aortic stenosis and aortic valve regurgitation. We take on more complex cases, offer a wide range of surgical options, and provide the best possible treatment to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Full Range of Aortic Valve Disease Care
Aortic heart valve disease occurs when the aortic valve no longer allows blood to properly flow in and out of the heart. It is often caused by aging, rheumatic fever, or congenital heart defects. Aortic valve disease includes aortic stenosis, which refers to a narrowed or obstructed valve. Aortic valve disease also includes aortic valve regurgitation, during which the aortic valve no longer closes properly, and blood flow regurgitates, or flows back into the heart. Both types of aortic valve disease can cause chest pain, shortness of breath and fainting.
Our cardiologists and surgeons use a full range of therapies to treat aortic valve disease, including medicine and interventional techniques, as well as novel therapies only available through our clinical trials. The right approach depends on the severity of your condition. When surgery is needed, our skilled surgeons use their advanced training and expertise to repair or replace diseased aortic valves, often with minimally invasive techniques. Our goal is to help you feel better, faster so you can return to your normal activities.
Choose a Duke heart clinic for your aortic valve disease treatment because we offer:
- Top-ranked care. U.S. News and World Report ranks Duke Heart Center 5th in the nation, based on our patients’ survival rates, the number of procedures we perform, and the quality of our support services.
- More experience, better outcomes. Our surgeons are among the nation’s top performers of valve disease surgery. In addition, we have more experience and better outcomes with transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedures than most medical centers in the U.S. TAVR is a minimally invasive alternative to open heart surgery that is used to treat severe aortic stenosis in high-risk patients. We are skilled in the placement of several TAVR devices (CoreValve and Sapien) and use multiple delivery approaches (through the leg and chest). As a result, we offer treatment options to the vast majority of eligible patients.
- Advanced diagnostic tools. We use 3-D transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) to create highly detailed, close-up images of the valves, chambers and pumping action of moving heart.
- More aortic valve repairs than replacements. When possible, our surgeons repair the aortic valve, rather than replace it. As a result, you are less likely to require blood thinners and undergo repeat procedures.
- More minimally invasive treatments. Our surgeons are ranked among the world’s highest performers of mini-thoracotomy procedures, a minimally invasive technique that reaches and repairs the aortic valve through small incisions. The use of smaller incisions, rather than open heart surgery, reduces blood loss, scarring and the risk of infection, while speeding your recovery.
- A choice in heart valve replacements. If you require a heart valve replacement, we offer mechanical valves made of carbon, as well as tissue valves made from animal tissue. We educate you on the pros and cons of each, and work with you to determine which is best for you.
- Streamlined care and convenience. If necessary, you may meet with a cardiologist and surgeon in one visit to streamline your care and make best use of your time.
- Access to clinical trials. You may be eligible to participate in our clinical trials, which study new therapies for aortic valve disease.
- Support for your recovery. Our cardiac prevention and cardiac rehabilitation program gives you a personalized plan for recovery after surgery, and long-term management of your heart health. Your program may include exercise instruction, nutritional counseling and more.
AORTIC VALVE DISEASE
May be prescribed to reduce and prevent aortic valve disease symptoms and complications. Medications may include ACE inhibitors to widen blood vessels and lower blood pressure, antiarrhythmics to help maintain a regular heartbeat and pump blood through the body more efficiently, and anticoagulants to prevent blood clots.
Requires a large chest incision and is sometimes necessary to reach and repair or replace the aortic valve. Our surgeons are among the nation’s top performers of valve disease surgery.
Replaces the aortic valve through small incisions in the chest. The small incisions lower the risk of infection, and result in less blood loss and scarring. The combined benefits ensure you recover faster.
A minimally invasive procedure during which the heart is accessed through small incisions, and a prosthetic valve is implanted within the diseased valve to treat aortic stenosis. It can increase heart function, quality of life and survival in patients with no other option. We have more experience and better outcomes with transcatheter aortic valve replacement than most medical centers in the U.S.
A balloon is threaded through a catheter to open the narrowed heart valve.
When appropriate, we combine aortic valve repairs with other procedures, such as angioplasty, in our fully equipped hybrid operating room. Undergoing two procedures at once reduces your risk for complications and helps you recover faster.
AORTIC VALVE DISEASE
Records the the heart’s electrical activity through small electrodes placed on the skin.
Uses ultrasound to create moving images of the heart in order to determine its size, shape and how well it functions.
A transducer is threaded down the esophagus to reach the heart. Sound waves create 3-D, highly detailed, close-up images of the valves, chambers and pumping action of moving heart.
Uses radio waves, magnets and a computer to create still and moving images of the heart and vessels.
Catheters are guided through a blood vessel to the heart. Contrast dye is injected and X-rays are taken to capture images of the heart, coronary artery and blood vessels.
Congenital heart conditions, like Loeys-Dietz Syndrome, can increase your risk for aortic valve disease. Comprehensive genetic testing and screening can help determine the best treatment approach for you, and may help ensure the early diagnosis of your family members.