Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Aortic Stenosis Treatment
The treatment that is right for you depends on many factors, including your age, medical history, the degree of valve stenosis and other medical conditions. At Fletcher Allen, your surgeon and cardiologist will work closely with you to help determine the best treatment to meet your needs.
Aortic Stenosis Treatment in Burlington, VT
Treatment for aortic stenosis may involve surgery to replace the valve. Medications may be prescribed to relieve some of the symptoms of the disease.
Patients with mild aortic stenosis may not have symptoms, and only require routine monitoring by a physician. Those with more severe forms of stenosis will likely need surgery to fix the valve and restore normal blood flow. More severe forms occur when the valve narrows further, causing symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath or syncope/passing out.
Leader in Cardiac Care
Fletcher Allen has one of the leading cardiology programs in the region, offering a broad range of treatments for heart valve disease and all types of cardiac problems. Patients have access to the latest technology and work with highly trained and experienced cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons who are on the frontiers of cardiac medicine.
We provide the latest treatments and procedures for aortic stenosis, including the newest generation of valves for valve replacement.
We are also committed to patient education through all stages of your treatment. We want to make sure you and your family have all the information you need to make the best decisions about your care.
Treating Aortic Stenosis at Fletcher Allen
At Fletcher Allen you have access to highly specialized care provided by our "sub-specialists." Sub-specialists are physicians with advanced training and expertise in a particular area, and are typically found only at a tertiary, or advanced-level care centers like Fletcher Allen – the only center of this kind in Vermont.
The sub-specialists involved in the care of aortic stenosis are:
- Cardiothoracic surgeons – Surgeons with advanced training in operating on the heart and chest, and performing "open-heart" procedures such as coronary artery bypass surgery. At Fletcher Allen, our cardiac surgeons are highly trained with more than 70 years of combined experience in performing heart surgery. They have special expertise in operating on the heart, lungs, esophagus, and major blood vessels of the chest cavity.
- Cardiologists – Medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing, evaluating and treating the heart and heart-related conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure and other cardiac problems.
- Interventional Cardiologists--Fletcher Allen is nationally recognized for its rapid treatment of severe heart attack and its heart attack survival rates. In addition the interventional cardiologists will work closely with the cardiac surgeons to assess the aortic valve disease and determine whether coronary artery blockages are also present. Newer experimental treatment options for aortic valve disease require close cooperation of "The Heart Team" - imaging cardiologists, interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons reviewing your specific situation together to decide on the optimum treatment strategy.
- Congenital heart disease specialists – Cardiologists with special training in caring for patients with congenital heart disease – when cardiac abnormalities are present at birth. Some patients with aortic stenosis also have congenital heart defects. At Fletcher Allen, we have a dedicated clinic devoted to adult patients with congenital heart disease, affording a level of expertise in this area unique to Vermont and the surrounding region.
Aortic Stenosis - Advanced Treatment
Aortic Valve Replacement
Fletcher Allen cardiothoracic surgeons are highly trained in performing aortic valve replacement. Patients can be assured of working with experienced and knowledgeable surgeons, with access to the latest, cutting-edge equipment.
This is the primary type of invasive therapy for aortic stenosis. It involves replacing the damaged valve with a new valve. Fletcher Allen cardiothoracic surgeons will open the chest and make an incision in the aorta. They will then remove the diseased aortic valve and sew the new valve into place.
Types of Valves
At Fletcher Allen, we use the latest, most technologically advanced heart valves. These fall into two main categories:
- Biological valves – Valves made from animal tissue or from human tissue of a donated heart. In some cases, the patient's own pulmonary valve can be used to replace the damaged aortic valve. Patients with these types of valves usually do not need to take blood-thinning medications such as Coumadin. Biological valves are not as durable as mechanical valves and may eventually need to be replaced.
- Mechanical valves – These valves are usually made from metal, carbon or Teflon. They are strong and last a very long time. Since blood tends to clot on mechanical valves, patients with these valves will need to take blood thinners such as Coumadin on a permanent basis.
Your cardiologist or cardiothoracic surgeon can help determine the best type of valve for you. A decision will be based on factors such as your preferences, lifestyle, age, medical conditions and heart function.
We have a strong tradition of providing life-saving heart surgery for patients throughout the region, dating back more than 50 years. We work in close collaboration with other specialists – to ensure you receive seamless, coordinated care.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
Fletcher Allen offers a treament called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement/Insertion (TAVR/TAVI), a minimally invasive heart surgery treatment designed to provide a minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment for high risk heart patients.
With this procedure, the diseased aortic valve is replaced via a catheter inserted in the leg artery, much like putting a stent in the coronary arteries.