For 83-year-old Howard Jacobs of Fort Worth, being able to go to church or walk down the street to visit neighbors is now possible thanks to a heart procedure performed for the first time in Tarrant County at Medical City Fort Worth.
Jacobs was the first patient to undergo the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure in Tarrant County, performed recently by Medical City Fort Worth's cardiovascular team. He was released from the hospital two days after having the procedure and is now enjoying activities like going out to breakfast with his son or doing some simple chores around the house.
“I’m feeling a lot better, and I’m more able to do the things I want to do,” said Jacobs, a retired restaurant and municipal worker. “This has made such a difference for me. Before, I could hardly walk a few feet. They had me sit with my feet propped up on account of shortness of breath and heart problems.”
TAVR is the latest FDA-approved treatment for people diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis who are considered either high-risk or too sick for valve replacement through open heart surgery. Aortic stenosis occurs when the heart’s valve narrows, dangerously restricting blood flow to the rest of the body. Up to 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from aortic stenosis, according to the American Heart Association.
The minimally invasive TAVR procedure enables a new heart valve to be inserted into the patient’s aorta via a catheter. The old, damaged valve is replaced without open-heart surgery.
Heart Center of North Texas cardiologist Amir Malik, M.D., is the lead physician for the Medical City Fort Worth TAVR team of more than 20 medical professionals, including cardiothoracic surgeons Reza Khalifi, M.D., and William Anderson, M.D., and supporting cardiac, anesthesia and imaging specialists.
“Bringing the TAVR procedure to Tarrant County provides an excellent option for our local patients who are deemed at high risk for traditional heart valve surgery,” Dr. Malik said. “TAVR increases the therapeutic options that physicians can offer to their patients, many of whom were previously considered too sick for surgery. Their only option was to conservatively manage the condition, without hope for much improvement.”
Medical City Fort Worth team trained for the TAVR procedure with Dr. Bruce S. Bowers, who also assisted with Medical City Fort Worth’s first TAVR procedures. Dr. Bowers is National Medical Director of Invasive Cardiology for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and Medical Director of Invasive and Noninvasive Cardiology at Medical City Fort Worth’s sister hospital, Medical City Dallas. Medical City pioneered the TAVR procedure nationally.
Dr. Bowers currently serves as the principal investigator for three Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) clinical trials. He has performed more than 700 minimally invasive valve replacements over the past several years, and is recognized as a national leader in minimally invasive therapies for the treatment of valvular and structural heart disease. Dr. Bowers' research work has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Thoracic Surgery, The Journal of the American Heart Association, and The Journal of Invasive Cardiology.
“The team at Medical City Fort Worth has done an outstanding job,” Dr. Bowers said. “This technology allows patients in Fort Worth to be treated with a cutting-edge procedure that is not currently available anywhere on the Tarrant County side of the Metroplex. We hope to be able to also offer this therapy to younger and healthier patients in the not-too-distant future. Currently, only high-risk patients are FDA-approved for the procedure.”
Learn more about Minimally Invasive Heart Procedures at Medical City Fort Worth.
The Edwards SAPIEN XT transcatheter heart valve was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2014 as a therapy for patients with severe, symptomatic calcific native aortic valve stenosis who have been determined by a heart team to be at high or greater risk for open-heart surgery to replace their diseased aortic heart valve. TAVR is a significant procedure involving general anesthesia, and placement of the Edwards SAPIEN XT valve is associated with specific contraindications as well as serious adverse effects, including risks of death, stroke, damage to the access site used for insertion of the valve, major bleeding and other life-threatening and serious events.