NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – Doctors at CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern are giving patients another chance at life with a new heart procedure. Before, heart patients faced invasive surgery and weeks of recovery.
It’s called TAVR, also known Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement. The procedure is mainly done when a patient’s aortic valve narrows, called aortic stenosis.
“It has the same risk for death as untreated cancer,” said Scott Sample, interventional cardiologist, at CarolinaEast Medical Center.
The aortic valve, located on the left side of the heart, is a tissue made out of connective tissues. It serves to maintain one-way blood flow through the heart.
“So when your heart squeezes and ejects the blood out, the valve stops it from flowing backwards back into the heart and moves it forward,” said Sample.
The non-surgical treatment replaces the original valve with one that’s artificial. Doctors simply use catheters, or plastic tubes, to implant the new valve. One tube is used to monitor pressure and take pictures to get a look at the location of the valve. The second one contains the device itself.
Ten people have undergone the TAVR procedure at CarolinaEast since they began offering it in October. Recovery can take as little as a day. Patients will notice a change in their health about 10 to 14 days after the treatment, officials said.