Posts made in August, 2012

Alta Bates Summit’s New Patient Care Pavilion Takes Shape

Posted on Aug 24, 2012

Architect's rendering, Patient Care Pavilion, Alta BatesSummit

Architect’s rendering of Alta Bates Summit’s new Patient Care Pavilion (right) comes to life as construction progresses.

The exterior of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s new Patient Care Pavilion in Oakland is nearly complete.

The exterior wall system consists of 977 permanent panels are 15 feet wide and include interior and exterior walls. One of the unique architectural features of the building – ‘the slice’ is now clearly visible. Read More

Alta Bates Summit Parking Structure Opens

Posted on Aug 24, 2012

Alta Bates Summit’s new Providence Parking Garage

Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s new 1,067-space parking structure opened to the wheels of happy patrons on Monday, August 13, 2012.

The Summit Campus now offers ample parking for physicians, employees, patients and visitors with additional entry and exit points (Hawthorne Avenue, Summit Street and Telegraph Avenue). Read More

How Cows are Helping Save Hearts!

Posted on Aug 2, 2012

When most people think of cows, they think of milk and beef, … not heart valves.

But thanks to using a valve made from the lining of cows’ hearts, a revolutionary nonsurgical technique—called the Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)® procedure—is giving new life to many with aortic valve disease who are too elderly or too ill for open-heart valve replacement surgery.

Why the procedure is necessary

The heart has four valves with paper-thin flaps of tissue (leaflets) that constantly open and close to regulate blood flow. Sometimes, these valves become diseased, hindering the flow of blood.

Aortic stenosis is a disease of the aortic valve, which controls the flow of blood from the heart into the aorta, the main artery pumping blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

This disease often occurs when calcium and mineral deposits buildup in the aortic valve, causing it to become blocked or narrowed. This prevents the valve from opening fully, leading to restricted blood flow, weakness, chest pain and fainting.

Because the heart has to pump harder to supply blood to the rest of the body, even simple breathing can become a chore. If left untreated, aortic stenosis can lead to serious heart problems and can be fatal.

About 300,000 patients in the U.S. have aortic stenosis. Most patients turn to open-heart valve replacement surgery for treatment, but about one-third of patients are too ill or too elderly to undergo surgery.

Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)® gives many patients a second chance at life by providing them with a new valve made of a balloon-expandable, stainless steel frame and three very thin leaflets, constructed from the tissue sac surrounding the heart of a cow.

 How is it performed?

While the heart is still beating, a doctor makes a small incision in the femoral artery of the leg and inserts a pencil-thin tube called a sheath. Through the sheath, a doctor introduces a balloon catheter—a very thin tube with a deflated balloon—and guides it to the aortic valve using imaging guidance. The balloon is inflated to open the diseased valve, and then deflated and removed.

Illustration of TAVR location

Next, the doctor places the Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve® over a deflated balloon on a very thin tube or catheter called the RetroFlex3 delivery system®. Inserting this delivery system through the sheath in the femoral artery, the doctor threads it to the aortic valve using imaging guidance.

Once positioned in the aortic valve, the balloon is inflated, expanding the new valve within the diseased one. The balloon is then deflated and the RetroFlex3 delivery system is removed. The new Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve® begins to work immediately.

The whole procedure is performed in the hospital under general anesthesia and takes about four to five hours.

What are the advantages?

  • Improvement in symptoms and quality of life for many patients, including high-risk, inoperable patients with symptomatic severe calcific-degenerative aortic valve stenosis
  • Elimination of cardiopulmonary bypass (heart–lung machine)
  • Minimally invasive procedure with no scarring
  • Optimal delivery and placement of the valve through imaging guidance
  • Construction of the Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve® using the Carpentier-Edwards ThermaFix tissue process to prevent calcification of valve tissue

At Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, our Cardiovascular Center of Excellence delivers the most advanced diagnostic and treatment techniques for aortic valve replacement, using the latest state-of-the-art technology.

Talk to your doctor to determine if this procedure is right for you.