Bumrungrad debuts new heart valve center to provide advanced cardio treatment
published : 27 Nov 2019 at 17:20
With the advent of modern medical technology, Thais are living longer than ever, with Thailand expected to become a fully aging society by 2021.
This has placed geriatric healthcare in the spotlight, particularly age-related heart conditions such as coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, bradycardia and heart failure.
With the advent of modern medical technology, Thais are living longer than ever, with Thailand expected to become a fully aging society by 2021. This has placed geriatric healthcare in the spotlight, particularly age-related heart conditions such as coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, bradycardia and heart failure.
Known as the “silent killer”, Aortic Valve Stenosis (AS) – the narrowing of the heart’s main valve – has increasingly affected the country’s older population. AS limits aortic valve from opening fully due to a thickening or fusing together of the edges caused by calcium deposits or simply age-related deterioration. This makes the heart work harder to pump blood through the valve, which restricts blood flow and causes rigidity of heart tissue.
Those afflicted with AS may not display symptoms, or show only mild symptoms in its early stages. If left untreated, symptoms become increasingly more severe and are often fatal, hence the sinister moniker “silent killer”.
Symptoms include fatigue, chest discomfort and tightness, swollen feet and ankles, irregular heartbeat, and loss of consciousness. If left untreated, severe complications such as pulmonary edema, stroke or brain infarction may arise.
In addition to these warning signs, patients with risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and smoking should be particularly vigilant.
In response to the seriousness of this new epidemic among the older population, Bumrungrad Hospital has launched its Heart Valve Center under the leadership of director Capt. Dr. Wattanaphol Phipathananunth. This is a comprehensive centre dedicated to heart valve disease, focusing on safety and the highest quality treatment available. Regular screenings are recommended for men over age 40 and women over 45. Following an initial consultation, patients are matched with a specialist doctor before they are given a thorough medical history review physical check-up and a heart examination. Diagnostics which are used may include Electrocardiogram (EKG), Echocardiogram, Exercise Stress Test, 24-hour Holter Monitoring, Multislice CTA Coronary or Coronary Angiography.
If AS is confirmed, there are three main treatment options, including medication; open-heart surgery to replace the aortic valve with an artificial valve, known as Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (SAVR), and replacement of the aortic valve using a non-invasive procedure known as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI).
While SAVR is an effective standard treatment, it is considered a major surgical procedure which some patients – including nearly one-third of elderly patients – cannot endure due to the prolonged exposure to general anesthesia. Other risks attributed to the highly invasive procedure include pneumonitis and urinary tract infection.
This is why the Heart Valve Center recommends TAVI for most of its older patients. Much less invasive than open-heart surgery, TAVI uses a catheter inserted through the patient’s blood vessels to reach the heart and expand the valve.
The doctor will begin the implantation of the artificial heart valve by first inserting the catheter into the patient’s body via the femoral artery (located in the groin), or by piercing the tissue at the apex of the heart through a small incision in the chest. When the catheter reaches the aortic valve, the doctor will then inflate a small balloon at the tip of the catheter, which acts to secure the artificial heart valve in its proper position. The new artificial heart valve will then take over facilitating blood flow from the existing aortic valve as the latter continues to deteriorate.
The TAVI procedure takes much less time than open-heart surgery while helping reduce the chance of complications. And because it requires only a small incision, the recovery period is shorter.
Each case is a cooperative effort, and the Heart Valve Center is staffed with a team of specialist doctors that includes cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, echocardiologists, cardiac
rehabilitation specialists, technicians, and nurse
coordinators, all of whom work under a multidisciplinary team approach using state-of-the-art equipment.
Along with the cutting-edge technology, doctors at the centre have undergone highly specialised medical training in the US and Australia to ensure an international-standard level of treatment. Moreover, patients will benefit from the 24-hour Coronary Care Unit (CCU) and full-option facilities.
With its multidisciplinary medical team, cutting-edge technology, and first class facilities, the Heart Valve Center is the leading facility for AS treatment, with shorter in-patient recovery time, 100% success with zero complications, and zero mortality rate. The opening of the centre confirms Bumrungrad staff’s expertise and experience and its commitment to tackling healthcare issues in the era of Thailand’s rapidly aging society.