Live The Life You Love!

Heart valve disease doesn’t have to mean slowing down or saying no. Today’s treatments can restore your energy so you can say yes again! 

Health Monitor Staff
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Twice a week, Janine walks a mile into town to shop at the farmers’ market, where she buys “earthy mushrooms and sweet, juicy tomatoes.” What’s more, she does it at her customary fast clip. Yet just 18 months ago, the trip was out of the question. “I couldn’t get up this one hill without huffing and puffing,” says the 78-year-old. She figured it was just a normal sign of aging, but when she fainted one morning while making the bed, she knew something was wrong.

The problem? Severe aortic stenosis (AS)—a narrowing and hardening of the valve through which blood flows from the heart to the rest of the body. When that valve—one of four in the heart—doesn’t open and close properly, tissues and organs don’t get the oxygen-rich blood they require.

Chances are, you may not have heard of AS, yet along with mitral valve regurgitation (MR), it’s one of the most common and most serious forms of heart valve disease. In fact, more than 1 in 8 Americans over age 75 have a moderate or severe form of AS.

The good news? Today, thanks to modern advances, there’s a fix for it—a new valve. Janine turned out to be a candidate for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a breakthrough technique that allows doctors to “thread” a new valve into the heart.

On the pages of this guide, you’ll learn more about heart valve disease—everything from how to tune in to the warning signs and work with your Heart Team to choosing the treatment option that’s right for you.

You’ll also hear from top doctors and other patients with heart valve disease, who share how their treatment is helping to ensure they will have many happy, healthy years ahead. Take Janine, who experienced instant relief after her TAVR: “What an energy boost!” she says. “The first time I walked into town again, I didn’t even notice a hill!” 

October 2014