When one of the valves in the heart is severely damaged or no longer working properly, it may need to be repaired or replaced. Certain valve repair and replacement procedures can now be done without surgery—they are performed instead through a tube called a catheter that is inserted under the skin into a blood vessel (known as percutaneous or endovascular access) and guided through to the heart. Certain procedures, such as valvuloplasty, are almost always done by catheter. In other cases, percutaneous procedures provide an alternative to established surgical options. They are especially useful for treating patients who cannot undergo surgery, or who have had surgery that failed. Percutaneous valve procedures commonly performed at Temple include:
- Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement: Sometimes, when a damaged aortic valve cannot be repaired or replaced surgically, an artificial valve made of animal tissue and metal mesh can be implanted via catheter.
- MitraClip™: For a mitral valve that leaks because it does not close properly (regurgitation), a small, clothespin-like clip implanted via catheter can help the valve to seal more tightly.
- Balloon Valvuloplasty: If a heart valve is narrow or stiffened, a balloon on the end of the catheter can be inflated to push the valve open and allow more blood through.
Temple has some of the most extensive cardiac catheterization facilities in the region, as well as a highly experienced team of interventional cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons who specialize in performing these minimally invasive procedures.