New Hope with CoreValve

Heart patient Agnes Pike.

First CoreValve patient, Agnes Pike, receives innovative treatment for aortic stenosis at The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, adding years to her life.

A minimally invasive treatment called CoreValve® has revolutionized care for patients with failing aortic valves in Kansas City.

Agnes pike suffered from severe aortic stenosis – a condition in which the heart valve narrows and stiffens. She couldn't get out of bed without assistance. Her life expectancy was 6 months.

Because of her age and other complications, Pike wasn't a candidate for open heart surgery. Her cardiologist at the time, Ashwani Mehta, MD, recommended she participate in a clinical trial for an innovative, minimally invasive treatment called CoreValve. He told her they could talk about the novel procedure, or they could talk about hospice care.

How could I refuse? I couldn't have survived open heart surgery. – Agnes Pike

The first of its kind

On Feb. 15, 2011, Pike had the area's first CoreValve procedure. Interventional cardiologist Peter Tadros, MD, and cardiothoracic surgeon Trip Zorn, MD, used a catheter to guide the prosthetic valve to her heart. The device expanded and replaced the deteriorating aortic valve.

Pike spoke proudly of her daily walks through her independent-living facility in Lenexa. She was able to spend time with her 13 great-grandchildren – with 2 more on the way.

After meeting with Pike at her follow-up appointment, Dr. Tadros said Pike's health is a testament to the CoreValve procedure, known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR.

"It really is life altering," Dr. Tadros said. "When it's successful, which it is 90% of the time, it resets the patient's life expectancy to the rest of the population their age."

For Pike, that meant enjoying 5 more quality years with her family before she passed in June 2016.

Changing the future of heart care

Aortic stenosis is a lethal disease. Only half of those diagnosed with the condition are expected to be living within 2 years of their diagnosis. Quality of life is extremely poor in the final months.

Open-heart surgery is the standard treatment for aortic stenosis, but for many older patients like Pike, the risk is too high.

The University of Kansas Health System was 1 of 45 sites in the United States participating in a national CoreValve study. Results showed more patients were alive a 1 year if they received the device compared to patients who had traditional open-heart surgery.

"CoreValve is truly a transformational procedure," Dr. Tadros explained. "This has really changed how we approach aortic stenosis disease."
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