Matthew W. Sherwood, MD, is board certified in interventional cardiology, cardiovascular disease and internal medicine. He practices at the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute. Read Dr. Sherwood’s profile.
This month, we have enrolled our first three patients for a study that will test a minimally invasive technique to replace faulty heart valves in low-risk patients. It’s the first time we’ve been able to offer this procedure to low-risk patients, and we’re pleased to be the only site in Northern Virginia to do so.
New Option for Low-Risk Patients
The procedure we’re testing is known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR. While TAVR itself isn’t new, we’re testing it in low-risk patients for the first time in the PARTNER 3 Study.
TAVR allows us to replace aortic valves in the heart that aren’t functioning properly. In the past, the only way to replace the aortic valve was with open-heart surgery. With TAVR, we make only a tiny incision in the thigh. Then we thread a catheter through the artery of the leg and into the heart. This way, we can insert the replacement valve in a much less invasive way.
Originally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved TAVR for use in high-risk patients who weren’t healthy enough for open-heart surgery. In August 2016, the FDA also approved the procedure for intermediate-risk patients after studies found that TAVR is safe and effective in that group, as well, and may be preferable to surgery in certain patients.
Now we’re comparing the technique to traditional open-heart surgery in patients who have a low risk of complications. We expect this option will benefit many patients since TAVR involves a smaller incision and shorter recovery time than traditional surgery. For patients at low risk of complications, this study is the only way to receive a TAVR procedure.
National Leaders in TAVR
Inova is one of 65 sites across the country – and the only one in the Washington, DC, metro area – participating in the PARTNER 3 study of TAVR in low-risk patients. We’re actively recruiting patients now and participants will be randomly assigned to receive either TAVR or traditional open-heart surgery per the study protocol.
We expect the study will last about two years, but we will follow patients for a total of 10 years to see how they fare.
Inova is a national leader in TAVR, and our specialists perform 6 to 10 of these procedures every week. We also have a long history of participating in research studies such as this one. Learn more about the research and clinical trials going on at the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute.
The Structural Heart Disease Team at Inova Heart and Vascular Institute includes:
- Interventional Cardiologists:
- Cardiothoracic Surgeons: