Section: Barnabas Health Heart Center News

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center: Only Hospital in New Jersey and Second in US to Offer Minimally Invasive Valve Replacement to Low-Risk Patients


April 21, 2016 – Barnabas Health Heart Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC), an RWJBarnabas Health facility located in Newark, was the second hospital in the United States to perform a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in a "low risk" patient. It remains the only hospital in New Jersey to offer the procedure to this population. This current "low risk" study, being hosted by Edwards Lifesciences (Irvine, CA), is called PARTNER 3 and will enroll more than 1,000 patients across the nation and seeks to compare traditional surgery with TAVR in low surgical risk patients afflicted with severe aortic valve disease

TAVR, also known as TAVI, is a minimally invasive approach to treating aortic valve stenosis. It requires no incision and eliminates the need for the heart-lung machine and stopping the heart, which is required during traditional surgical aortic valve replacement. This catheter-based procedure is performed through a puncture in the groin while the heart is still beating.

NBIMC has been performing TAVR since 2012 and is currently performing more TAVR procedures than any other facility in the state, with nearly half of all patients going home the following day.

Outside of clinical trials, TAVR is currently only available to patients considered high-risk for open heart surgery. However, it has been so successful in helping higher risk patients, it is now being studied as an alternative for lower risk patients —and the early results are promising. The Lancet recently reported that in patients considered intermediate risk for surgical aortic valve replacement, the risk of death and stroke was reduced by nearly 50 percent among patients undergoing TAVR compared to traditional open heart surgery.

Cardiac surgeon Mark Russo, MD, Director of the Aortic Center, Barnabas Health Heart Centers, explains, “With TAVR, we don’t stop the heart, we don’t remove the old valve. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and patients commonly go home the next day. Most patients feel better when they wake up and are back to normal activities within a week. Surgery is still a great option for many patients, but given the tremendous results that we have observed with TAVR, we expect that pending the findings of this study, TAVR will become the standard therapy for the overwhelming majority of patients with aortic stenosis.”

"This therapy prolongs survival, increases functional status, and improves quality of life,” adds Bruce Haik, MD, Medical Director, Interventional Cardiology, Barnabas Health Heart Centers. “Expanding this option to low-risk patients presents tremendous benefits to both patients and clinicians.”

About Aortic Valve Stenosis
Aortic valve stenosis, which affects approximately 300,000 Americans, occurs when calcium deposits in the valve causing the valve to narrow. Because the aortic valve sits between the main pumping chamber of the heart (called the left ventricle) and the main blood vessel in the body (called the aorta), all of the blood in the body must flow through this valve. When the valve is narrowed, it restricts needed blood flow to the body’s organs including the brain, heart, and kidneys. Patients typically develop shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and/or fainting. This process progresses slowly. Because of its insidious nature, many don’t recognize the symptoms until the condition is very advanced. The only effective treatment is heart valve replacement. Without treatment, people afflicted with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis usually die within two years.

For more information about TAVR or the Barnabas Health Heart Centers, RWJBarnabas Health facilities, visit or call 973-926-8032.

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