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  • Aortic valve replacement beats no surgery

    Author: AAP

Researchers believe the frail elderly with a common heart condition can now be treated with a minimally-invasive procedure rather than open heart surgery.

A minimally-invasive procedure to replace the aortic valve without doing open heart surgery has better outcomes after five years than patients who did not have surgery at all, researchers say.

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Aortic stenosis is a common form of heart disease, in which the valve does not open fully and decreases blood flow from the heart.

Options for fixing it include open heart surgery or minimally-invasive valve replacement by catheter, and inserting a catheter into the groin and inflating a small balloon in the aortic valve to open it, known as balloon aortic valvuloplasty.

In recent years, more promise has been seen for the second option - a procedure known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), for people who are elderly or too frail for open heart surgery.

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Experts say TAVR may allow patients who are too frail for open heart surgery a better quality of life than the standard therapy of balloon aortic valvuloplasty.

The study published in The Lancet, and released at the American College of Cardiology annual conference in San Diego, California, followed 358 patients with severe aortic stenosis for five years.

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