Mumbai: Aortic valve replacement is increasingly gaining popularity in treatment of narrowing of valves in elderly patients since this procedure does not require the opening up on the chest and has less hospital stay.
Giving details, Dr AB Mehta, consultant cardiologist, Jaslok Hospital, said that cardiac surgery was, in fact, the only mode of treatment for such patients till recently. “But the fact is that out of a total of around 15 lakh patients in India suffering from this condition, around 4.5 lakh of them are inoperable,” he said. The reason is that these patients are old and frail, and undergoing surgery is not advisable for them. Interestingly, the symptoms of this condition are sometimes not known till the time the valve becomes extremely narrowed.
The aortic valve gets narrowed due to the ageing process and this restricts free flow of blood outside the heart chamber. “As a result, the heart starts dilating and the muscles have to work harder to pump out the blood,” he said. The patient may not live long if this condition is left untreated, and hence this new technique is turning out to be of great benefit to them.
This procedure is carried out under local anaesthesia and the patient remains fully conscious during the procedure, Dr Mehta said. “A catheter-based aortic valve replacement is carried out on the patient and the defective valve is replaced by a new one,” he added. The only prohibitive factor is the cost of the procedure which is around Rs 20 lakh at present.
Concurring with this, Dr NO Bansal, professor of cardiology, JJ Hospital said that this is definitely useful for aged patients since it does not require opening of the chest and hence recovery is faster. “Though the cost is high at present, it is likely to come down when more patients start using this and this becomes a more popular procedure,” he said.
Despite the fact that this procedure is still in its initial stages, the experience has been good so far, Dr Mehta said. “The best part is that the patients suffering from this condition now have an option and this will be useful to them in living a better quality of life,” he added.