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Is Minimally Invasive Heart Valve Replacement for You?

Is Minimally Invasive Heart Valve Replacement for You?

By Author Name

May 30, 2022

Updated Nov 17, 2023

5 min read

Is Minimally Invasive Heart Valve Replacement for You?

Learn more about SCL Health's Heart and Vascular Care

If your doctor says something is wrong with your heart, you might have a moment of panic. It’s one of those things nobody wants to hear. If it’s a valve that needs to be repaired or replaced, you know the risks mean you should address the problem. You’ve probably heard of open-heart surgery, and you’re not eager to take that on. But the advancement in medical technology presents more options. If you require a new heart valve, you might ask yourself: is a minimally invasive heart valve replacement for me?

What is minimally invasive heart valve replacement?

While severe heart problems may require more invasive surgery, it’s always worth asking about a minimal procedure. Minimally invasive heart valve replacement is when a surgeon replaces a heart valve with tiny cameras inserted into small chest incisions. It’s not a 6-8 inch chest cut, a hospital stay, or a long recovery. Technology has simplified our lives.

Patients who undergo minimally invasive valve replacement experience less pain, less blood loss, lower risk of infection, and a faster recovery than open-heart surgery recipients. “Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (or TAVR) is an incredible advancement for our patients,” said Jake Chanin, MD, an interventional cardiologist at SCL Health’s Heart & Vascular Institute. “The huge majority of our TAVR patients are home the day after their valve, and back to full activities with minimal restrictions.”

How do I know if I’m a good candidate?

You may be eager to sign up for this alternative procedure option, but not so fast. You and your surgeon will need to address your eligibility. This can include acknowledging medical history and conducting heart health tests. However, most people are eligible, especially if they are high-risk patients. This is due to the surgery’s less intrusive nature, which reduces overall trauma.

Rather than asking if you’re a good candidate, it might be better to ask if your cardiac physician performs minimally invasive heart valve replacement surgery. According to a National Library of Medicine article, the procedure has only been performed for 20 years (compared to the 100+ years that open-heart surgeries have been around). It requires a unique skillset and tools. 

SCL Health’s Heart & Vascular Institute is one place where you can find these experienced surgeons, such as Dr. Jake Chanin. “We are very proud of our entire team. Day in and day out, I know we provide excellent care," adds Dr. Chanin. "Each patient is looked at by our multidisciplinary team who helps get them through their evaluation and surgery."

Dr. Jake Chanin is a board-certified cardiologist at SCL Health Heart & Vascular Institute serving Denver and Front Range communities. Learn more or make an appointment today.

Chanin Jake photo