St. Francis Hospital is recognized as a national leader in cardiology and heart surgery, repeatedly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best hospitals in the country in that category. Our hospital has consistently had the largest cardiac surgical volume in New York State since 1992. In fact, the NYS Department of Health has recognized our program for its outstanding success rates more than any other hospital in the New York metropolitan area.
Open-heart surgery has been the gold standard for treating severe aortic valve stenosis, offering a safe and effective treatment for patients who are not considered high risk. During the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision down the center of the sternum or breast- bone to get access to the heart. Patients are then placed on a heart-lung bypass machine, which takes over the function of both organs. This machine maintains circulation through- out the valve replacement procedure for which St. Francis Hospital has had excellent safety rates.
Transcatheter aortic valve replace- ment, or TAVR, is a new, minimally invasive procedure that channels a tube called a catheter containing a prosthetic valve through the femoral artery toreach the heart via one of several possible routes, including the femoral artery, subclavian artery, a direct aortic approach, or through the apex of the heart itself. If the patient’s femoral or leg arteries are large enough, this is the preferred approach. The procedure is typically used for patients who are too elderly or sick for open-heart surgery. St. Francis physicians currently use two devices for this procedure: MedtronicCoreValve or the Edwards Sapien Valve, which are now approved for intermediated risk, high risk and extreme risk patients. In addition, MedtronicCoreValve is available for low risk patients as part of a national clinical research trial. The St. Francis team has performed over 1,100 TAVR procedures, one of the largest volumes in the U.S.