The Heart Valve Disease Program specializes in disorders in which heart valves are either too narrow or are leaking, with a dedicated team offering the latest methods for diagnosis and treatment.
Cutting-edge ultrasound, X-ray, and CT techniques are available to detect valve problems. As well as standard valve surgery techniques, CCAD offers minimally invasive procedures for valve repair and replacement, which can mean less trauma and faster healing for the patient. Procedures can be performed through the groin using catheters, or through small incisions on the chest using videoscopic and robotic surgery techniques.
What We Treat
The heart valves enable proper flow of blood through the heart, and into the lungs and body. There are four heart valves: aortic, mitral, tricuspid, and pulmonic valves. If diseased, these are either too narrow (stenosis), or leaking (regurgitation).
Heart valve disease can exist at birth, or can develop by rheumatic disease, infection, or aging. A weak heart muscle and corresponding dilatation of the heart can also lead to valve dysfunction. If left untreated, heart valve disease can cause irregular heart rhythm, heart failure, or death.
Common types of heart valve disease:
Mitral regurgitation (MR) is the most common valve problem. Primary MR is caused by a variety of underlying conditions, such as congenital defects, or acquired degenerative or post-inflammatory disorders. Secondary MR occurs due to incorrect blood flow to the heart muscle or dilatation of the left heart chamber.
Aortic valve stenosis (AS) is very common with the elderly, with a poor prognosis once it becomes symptomatic. Congenital AS can rarely occur at a young age, but is mostly acquired due to degenerative processes.
Pulmonary stenosis and tricuspid regurgitation are the most common valve defects of the right heart.
Patients with valve problems usually feel shortness of breath, chest pain, and irregular heartbeats. In the clinic, the physician listens to the heart and may hear so-called “heart murmurs”. The diagnosis is usually confirmed by ultrasound of the heart. Catheterization of the heart and the coronary arteries may also be carried out.
Moderate grades of heart valve disease can in most instances be treated with medication. If the disease is severe, valve repair or replacement will be suggested. In valve repair, the patient’s own valve is preserved. For valve replacement, biologic tissue valves or mechanical valves are available. Mechanical valves last longer, but patients will require blood thinning medication to prevent clots.
Types of heart valve surgery:
The classic way to perform heart valve surgeries is through a midline chest incision, with a heart lung machine used to maintain circulation during surgery. If certain criteria are met, the operation can be carried out through small incisions in the chest or using catheters which are inserted from the groin. These less invasive approaches enable earlier recovery.
Special techniques available at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi include 3D echocardiography, valve diagnostics by cardiac CT, robotic mitral valve repair, MitraClip implantation, and TAVR (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement)/TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation).
Heart valve disease care is provided by a multidisciplinary team supporting all stages of the patient journey. Caregivers involved in patient care for this program are:
- Cardiac surgeons
- Critical care team
- Perfusionists (heart lung machine specialist)
- Specialized nurses and technicians for heart valve disease management
During their medical practice at US- based Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and at other respected institutions, our interventional cardiologists and heart surgeons have developed new treatment methods for catheter-based valve interventions and robotic minimally invasive valve surgery. This expertise has been brought to our hospital through their full time presence at the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
The care team also includes specialized nurses, as well as technicians on all levels of care. Physiotherapists support rehabilitation efforts, while the complexity of the disease requires special coordinators and administrators.