Innovative technologies: A boon for patients with heart valve disorders

On World Heart Day 2022, Dr Gajinder Goyal, Director-Department of Cardiology, Marengo QRG Hospital talks about the heart valve diseases and technologies to treat them

Very often cardiologists are consulted by patients who are as young as 25 to 35 years of age. They come with typical symptoms of breathlessness, exhaustion, tiredness which they more than often ignore or neglect. At some time, these symptoms manifest into severe chest pain and the individuals have to be rushed to a hospital immediately to avert any fatalities.

According to the Indian Pubic Health estimates, Public health estimates indicate that India accounts for approximately 60 per cent of the world’s heart disease burden, despite having less than 20 per cent of the world’s population. Heart disease is the number one cause of mortality and a silent epidemic among Indians.

The body constitutes of four valves- the aortic valve, pulmonary valve, mitral valve, and tricuspid valve. These valves help the blood to flow in the right direction from each leaflet of the valve. When the valves lose the ability to open and close leading to disruption in the flow of the blood it causes the blood to flow backward to the left ventricle and ultimately the individual suffers aortic valve disease.

Dr Gajinder Goyal, Director, Department of Cardiology, Marengo QRG Hospital says, “One of the most prominent symptoms of heart valvular disease is Dyspnoea and other symptoms may vary depending upon which valve is involved. Earlier when we used to treat a patient, the surgery used to take longer time and the procedures involved large invasion because we would opt for an open-heart surgery. An open-heart surgery is conducted by cutting open the breastbone and then insertions are performed to treat the valve. It is riskier compared to the procedures that we perform nowadays. In the recent times, minimally invasive procedures have not only helped reducing the risk, it has also minimised the recovery time, ensuring optimised clinical outcomes.”

The importance of cause, early diagnosis, and timely treatment

The causes of heart valve diseases can be attributed to birth defects including congenital heart defects, or other conditions of heart diseases including age-related changes to the heart, rheumatic fever, an inflammation of the heart tissue, high blood pressure and many more cardiac medical challenges.

In the event of anyone experiencing symptoms of aortic valve disease including atrial fibrillation (An irregular heartbeat), shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, an immediate consultation with a qualified doctor is recommended. If ignored it may lead to serious, life-threatening complications. Once the doctor reviews the medical history and conducts the physical examination, the severity of the disease is checked. If the disease is moderate, the condition can be managed with follow-ups, medications along with the adoption of a healthy lifestyle and once the risk is reduced, the person may undergo a procedure to eliminate the disease. Today with the help of advance technologies, these treatments are successfully performed through minimally invasive procedures where doctors just make a small cut below the nipple and insertions are performed to treat the valves. Advancement in technologies have come of age in providing treatment solutions to all age groups. For an elderly person with a weak heart, we have procedures like a trans arterial valve implantation/replacement (TAVI/TAVR).” Dr Goyal added.

Technologies to treat heart valve diseases

Dr Goyal opines, “Technologies today have solutions to treat cardiac problems in different age groups. For the elderly or a patient with a history of non-cardiac conditions or a weak heart, we now have minimally invasive procedures such as a trans arterial valve implantation/replacement (TAVI/TAVR) to replace a narrow aortic valve that does not open properly. The procedure involves interventional cardiologists to insert a catheter into the chest, guiding it to the heart and in evaluating procedural success. An estimated 80,000-85,000 TAVR procedures are performed every year in the U.S. The procedure ensures patients a certain amount of reduced pain; shorter hospital stay and improved quality of life.”

India has been observed transformational changes in cardiac care. With seamless surgical interventions, the mortality rate has reduced compared to the statistics recorded a decade ago. While there have been procedures to treat complex cardiovascular problems, as doctors, we reiterate the importance of healthy lifestyle habits for everyone as it really helps enhancing the quality of life.” Dr Goyal concluded.

cardiac careheart issuesheart valveWorld Heart Day 2022
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