Overview When a heart valve is
damaged or diseased, it can severely affect the heart’s ability to pump
blood through the body. This can result in any number of problems
including shortness of breath, weakness or dizziness, a rapid or
irregular heart rate (arrhythmia) and in some cases swelling of the
legs, ankles and feet which can indicate heart failure.
Team Lankenau Heart Institute is
home to some of the country’s foremost medical and surgical experts in
the areas of heart valve care. This dedicated team works together
to evaluate patients, develop plans of care and deliver exceptional
treatment. Comprised of board-certified cardiologists and surgeons, the
team is among the most experienced in the region. This collective
expertise has led the team to consistently achieve superior patient
outcomes and risk-adjusted operative mortality rates for valve surgery
that are among the lowest in the nation.
Approach The Lankenau Heart
Institute’s heart valve
specialists possess unrivaled experience and expertise in the
diagnosis and treatment of heart valve disease. Whether an individual
needs heart valve repair or replacement, Lankenau Heart Institute
specialists emphasize the use of minimally invasive surgical approaches.
Nearly 88 percent of all isolated mitral valve
procedures and 81 percent of all isolated aortic valve
procedures at Lankenau are performed using minimally
These include the transcatheter aortic valve replacement
(TAVR) procedure, a ground-breaking option for individuals with aortic
stenosis who cannot have surgery or who are considered high risk for
traditional surgery. Lankenau was one of the first medical centers
in Pennsylvania to perform TAVR and has gained significant experience
with this procedure.
As often as possible, Lankenau Heart Institute’s heart valve specialists
strive to preserve the native mitral valve through repair. On average,
81 percent of the team’s mitral valve cases are repaired compared to 57
When the valve can’t be saved – as is often the case with aortic
stenosis – valve replacement surgery is the only treatment option. In
these procedures, Lankenau’s heart valve team uses bioprosthetic
(tissue) valves as much as possible, thereby eliminating the lifelong
need for blood thinners.
Valve disease may be difficult to diagnose and symptoms can sometimes
mimic other medical conditions. To ensure an accurate diagnosis,
Lankenau Heart Institute’s heart valve specialists draw upon an array of
advanced diagnostic tests and imaging capabilities to assess patient's
disease and guide treatment options.
Lankenau’s heart valve team specializes in the use of minimally invasive
surgical techniques to treat patients with valvular
regurgitation (leaking valve) and valvular stenosis (too tight).
These approaches, which include all forms of valve repair and
replacement, reduce patients’ post-operative discomfort and recovery
time, and offer a quicker return to normal activities.
Aortic Valve Disease
The most effective treatment for severe aortic stenosis is valve
replacement surgery. Lankenau Heart Institute offers two types of
valve replacement therapy: surgical aortic valve replacement (AVR) and
transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
AVR surgery is typically performed minimally invasively through a
six-to- eight centimeter incision. Once the native aortic valve is
removed, it is usually replaced with a bioprosthetic (tissue) or
mechanical valve. In 94.5 percent of cases, Lankenau Heart Institute
surgeons have been able to successfully replace the aortic valve with a
For patients who cannot have surgery or who are considered high risk for
traditional surgery, Lankenau Heart Institute heart valve specialists
offer the TAVR procedure. This cutting-edge
procedure is performed using either a catheter that is inserted into a
blood vessel in the groin (transfemoral) or through a small incision in
the chest (transapical) for those with too much plaque in the
Patients who undergo valve replacement surgery benefit from an
improvement in heart function and a return to an active, more vigorous
Mitral Valve Disease
When treating patients with mitral valve regurgitation (leaking valve),
Lankenau’s heart valve specialists routinely repair the valve using an endoscopic
approach that usually requires a two-inch incision and two port
sites of less than a ¼ inch.
On average, 81 percent of the team’s mitral valve cases are repaired
compared to 57 percent nationally. Benefits of minimally invasive heart
valve repair include less post-operative pain, a reduced risk of stroke,
avoidance of blood thinners, a quicker return to daily activities and an
improved quality of life.
In cases when repair is not an option, specialists at Lankenau Heart
Institute can also use the same minimally invasive approach to replace
the patient’s mitral valve with a bioprosthetic or mechanical
Tricuspid Valve Disease
Typically, problems with the tricuspid valve coincide with problems of
the mitral or aortic valve or the left ventricle. They can also be
caused by pulmonary
hypertension or infection. While tricuspid problems are rare, they
do require treatment. Typically, tricuspid valve repairs and
replacements at Lankenau Heart Institute are performed using a minimally
Atrial Septal Defect
Some patients may have a defect in the septum between the right and left
sides of the heart (hole in the heart) that may require closure.
Lankenau Heart Institute surgeons can also repair this defect using the
same minimally invasive techniques described above.
Research & Clinical Trials The
heart valve team’s commitment to surgical excellence, innovation and
clinical outcomes has garnered national attention and led to its
involvement in prominent government-sponsored and industry-funded research
initiatives. These include several Food and Drug Administration (FDA
IDE) clinical trials for new aortic valve bioprosthesis designs and the
National Institutes of Health’s (NIH/NHLBI) Cardiothoracic Surgical
Trials Network (CTSN).
Points of Differentiation The
Lankenau Heart Institute’s heart valve program has several features that
distinguish it from other programs in the region. One is its
consistent and progressive use of minimally invasive surgical techniques
when repairing and replacing heart valves. The other is its commitment
to providing patients with a personalized treatment option, regardless
of the severity of their valve condition.
Comprised of board-certified cardiologists and surgeons, Lankenau Heart
Institute’s heart valve team is among the most experienced in the
region. This collective expertise has led the team to consistently
achieve superior patient outcomes and risk-adjusted operative mortality
rates for valve surgery that are among the lowest in the nation.
Other benefits of the Heart Valve Program include:
Our team has performed more than 50 TAVR procedures in
the past year, exceeding program benchmarks for
Nearly 81 percent of all isolated aortic valve
procedures and 88 percent of all isolated mitral valve
procedures at Lankenau are performed using minimally
Since 1997, Lankenau has performed more than 1,000
minimally invasive mitral valve repairs.
A commitment to preserving the native heart valve
through repair. On average, 81 percent of mitral valve
cases at Lankenau are repaired compared to 57 percent
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.