Farrer Park Hospital Offers Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)

25-Oct-2021 Intellasia | PR Newswire Asia | 12:09 PM Print This Post

An alternative treatment for aortic valve stenosis, TAVI benefits elderly patients, especially those with comorbidities and deemed unsuitable for open-heart surgery.

SINGAPORE, Oct. 25 , 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Farrer Park Hospital ("FPH") offers TAVI as an alternative treatment option for those suffering from aortic valve stenosis who are elderly or for younger patients who are not suitable for open-heart surgery.

In aortic valve stenosis, the aortic valve situated on the heart's left chamber does not open completely, causing a narrowed aortic valve opening. When this happens, the heart is required to work extra hard to pump enough blood into the aorta and the rest of the body.

For the longest time, aortic valve stenosis has been considered a death sentence to the elderly, where the condition is most prevalent. In addition, the condition requires open-heart surgery, to replace the aortic heart valve under general anaesthesia. The procedure takes several hours to complete.

FPH's Consultant Cardiologist, Dr. Ong Sea Hing, said: "In the past, more than 30% of patients were denied treatment (open heart surgery) as they were deemed at too high a risk. Contributing factors include their age, frailty and existing medical issues."

Furthermore, open heart surgery for valve replacement can put tremendous strain on the body and, therefore, recovery from surgery can be a long and arduous process.

TAVI uses a minimally invasive method, unlike open-heart surgery whereby an incision is made to the chest during the hours-long valve replacement surgery. In TAVI, a bioprosthetic (man-made valve from animal tissue) heart valve is inserted through the artery in the groin and released in the heart where the original aortic valve is. The new heart valve then takes over the job and restores normal function.

While the new valve is usually inserted through the groin, it is sometimes inserted into an artery in the shoulder or a small cut in the chest through the aorta for those whose groin arteries are too small or unsuitable. The technology for this procedure has also improved significantly over the years making it safer and more effective. Currently, it is deemed as effective as open-heart surgery and in high surgical risk patients, it is actually superior to open heart surgery.

With TAVI, patients can have a prolonged lifespan and a better quality of life, provided that other diseases do not impair them. 

Dr. Ong mentioned that relatively younger patients can opt for this procedure instead of the traditional open-heart surgery. However, if they are expected to live for another 20-30 years, he would not recommend it.

"After about 8 to 10 years, there is a risk that the valve could degenerate. That's when the patient would need to get another valve replacement (TAVI) to ensure their aortic valve continues its function," Dr. Ong explained.

Of course, apart from the elderly, where aortic stenosis is most prevalent, some patients are born with abnormal aortic valves that degenerate earlier on in life. These younger patients can potentially be treated with TAVI if they are at high risk for surgery. However, this treatment benefits the elderly patients most, especially those with comorbidities and deemed not suitable for surgery.

In conclusion, TAVI presents an alternative treatment option for those suffering from aortic valve stenosis who are not suitable for open-heart surgery. It provides patients with an alternative to prolong their lifespan and improve their quality of life.

About Farrer Park Hospital

Farrer Park Hospital is the latest private tertiary acute care hospital in Singapore. The facility includes Farrer Park Medical Centre with specialist clinics, medical technology, nuclear medicine, and radiology services to support various surgical specialties in oncology, orthopedic, gastroenterology and cardiology. Designed by healthcare professionals and conveniently built above an underground train station, the Hospital enables holistic care for all its patients.

The Hospital shares numerous calming gardens and inspiring artworks with its related hotel, One Farrer Hotel. Synergies between the Hospital and hotel provide families and visitors with enhanced experiences in food and beverage, accommodation choices, lifestyle programs, and conference facilities.

Farrer Park Hospital and One Farrer Hotel are part of The Farrer Park Company Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based company.

For more information, visit www.farrerpark.com.

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