All major surgery inevitably carries a risk, however small, but new, minimally invasive treatments lessen it considerably. Modern technology is paving the way for shorter stays in hospital, less trauma, and a quicker recovery time. It also offers a lifeline for less robust patients who might otherwise be inoperable.
Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (known more simply as ‘TAVI’) is a new procedure available for a type of heart disease known as severe aortic valve stenosis (AS). The aortic valve pumps blood from the heart to the rest of the body. It can become narrow with age, causing the heart disease known as AS. In its severe stage, AS can cause breathlessness, fainting spells and chest pain as the heart works overtime to pump blood around the body. This is a serious condition. If left untreated, death could occur within 2 years among half of such patients.
The conventional treatment for AS is open-heart surgery to replace the valve. But for patients with weak hearts, severe lung disease or those on dialysis, traditional surgery is risky. In fact, for some of these patients, such a treatment is not even an option. A much safer alternative is TAVI, which is now available at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore.
A major benefit of TAVI is that it does not require the chest to be cracked open. Instead, a small puncture is made in the groin through which a new valve is delivered to the heart via a catheter. Equally important, the patient’s heart doesn’t need to be stopped – the transcatheter valve is implanted on the beating heart.
TAVI has been shown in several studies to be better than medical therapy in operable patients with severe AS, and is as safe as – some say it’s safer than – open-heart valve surgery in high-risk patients. The procedure can even be carried out under a local anaesthetic. On average, patients can expect to stay in hospital for just 2 days.
Find out some of the medical procedures available should you need to undergo heart treatment. With the correct insurance coverage, your bill size can be better gauged and managed, while Mount Elizabeth Hospitals can assist with all Medisave, MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plan claims.
For your peace of mind, talk to one of our heart specialists today or read about how to make healthcare insurance claims to cover your hospital bills.