Skip to comments.A New Approach To Open Heart Surgery
Posted on 02/10/2010 6:29:11 PM PST by ButThreeLeftsDo
Open heart surgery generally conjures up images of a long, painful, rib-splitting slice down the middle of the chest. But doctors at the Mayo Clinic are hoping to change that.
Heavy lifting goes with the territory for Teresa Van Hauer. She's in the sales territory for a designer shoe and boot representative, meaning she's lugging around 40- to 45-pound cases quite a bit.
However, a failing heart valve threatened to close all her accounts.
"And when that happens, it is, literally, you're just toast," she said.
A critical valve in her heart was crusted with calcium deposits and worn out.
"So the aortic valve is a very high-pressure valve. And as such it must tolerate a substantial amount of back pressure, and as such, takes a lot of wear and tear in the body," said Dr. Rakesh M. Suri, a heart surgeon at the Mayo Clinic.
The valve sits on top of the heart, the exit point for life-sustaining blood that feeds the brain and body.
Replacement valves made of animal tissue or mechanical parts have been used for decades.
The gold standard surgery for replacing a valve is a sternotomy, in which the chest is split wide open down the center.
Not quite what Van Hauer had in mind.
"Well, I just made up my mind right away that I wanted minimally invasive," she said.
And with the help of her Mayo Clinic doctors, that's exactly what she got.
"It's like fixing a car without having to open the hood the entire way," Suri said. "You sneak that valve between the ribs. We avoid breaking bones or cutting any big muscles."
Suri showed pictures of Van Hauer's surgery while explaining that an incision was made in her groin, where a heart-lung bypass machine was hooked up to get it out of the way. Then it was just a small cut under the arm for surgical tools and a 3-inch incision on the chest to give Suri direct access to the aortic and the valve.
Three days later, Van Hauer left the hospital.
"You know the hospital stay was much shorter, it's less chance of infection because the incision is so much smaller. Less blood loss. And the recovery is so short," she said.
A three to four week recovery versus the typical eight to 12 weeks for standard open heart surgery, put Van Hauer back on her feet, in fashionable shoes, much, much faster.
Without surgery, half of all people showing symptoms of aortic valve disease die within three to five years.
Symptoms may include fatigue, dizziness or reduced-ability to exercise.
Brings back memories of my "45 seconds and you are dead" issues that I had 10 years ago this June. : )
Minnesota has the BEST medical care available and I am here because of it.
John Ritter died of the same affliction in a "heart beat" in CA.
I remember when my late Father went through bypass surgery and the trauma he (and we) endured....
I’m glad that there is this new way of saving lives, without the carnage to the body.
I’m glad you’re stil around, too!!
Didn’t Ritter die of a ruptured aorta?
So did Lucille Ball
Very expensive for hospitals to purchase and currently doesn't get a great ROI. It's essentially first generation afterall (though that can be argued). It actually gets used for prostatectomies more than heart cases at the present time.
With improvements this technology will probably take off in the future.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.