Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dr. Daniel van Buren Speaks on Valvular Heart Disease

On Thursday, February 5, Dr. Daniel van Buren spoke to a very receptive To Your Health audience on valvular heart disease. This disease occurs when the valves of the heart do not open fully or leak when closed. It is most often a degenerative disease, resulting from wear and tear, and is chronic, progressing slowly over time.

Either an obstructed or a leaky valve can be heard with a stethoscope; a patient diagnosed with valvular disease will be monitored until symptoms occur. Symptoms include angina (pain), shortness of breath, and eventually heart failure. Once a person develops symptoms, it is essential they receive treatment – 50% of symptomatic but untreated patients die within two years.

Most valvular disease occurs on the left side of the heart, involving either the aortic valve (going out of the left ventricle) or the mitral valve (coming into the left ventricle). The treatment of choice for the aortic valve is surgical valve replacement. But in many cases the mitral valve can be repaired rather than replaced; when possible, this is the preferred treatment. As Dr. van Buren said, this is by far the more complicated valve, and you want to keep your own parts as long as possible. 

In just the past few years a new, non-invasive procedure for valve replacement has been approved for patients for whom surgery is not possible. With Trans Aortic Valve Replacement a balloon-type device and a replacement valve are inserted into a vein in the leg, sent to the heart, inflated, the valve attached, the balloon deflated and removed. Dr. van Buren said that while this is being performed only in those who cannot tolerate surgery, he believes this will be the procedure of the future.

Daniel van Buren and Carlie Casey speak after the presentation.
 To Your Health committee members Rosabelle Tifft, Ellen Crocker, Donna Coe, Linda McDonough and Jan Stowell.   photos Rosabelle Tifft

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