MedStar Union Memorial to Investigate Alternative to Open Heart Valve Surgery

New Study to Evaluate Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement in Low-Risk Patients

February 15, 2017

BALTIMORE, MD (February 15, 2017) — MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is one of only 80 cardiac centers in the world, selected by the industry to participate in a study of an alternative treatment option for surgical aortic valve replacement. The study will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the transcatheter approach to replacing the aortic valve, known as TAVR, in treating low-risk patients with severe aortic stenosis.

An estimated 2.5 million people over the age of 75 suffer with aortic stenosis, caused by calcium build-up in the aortic valve. The result is a narrowing in the valve which prevents it from opening and closing properly, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. The reduced blood flow increases pressure within the heart, causing the heart to weaken and function poorly.

“Replacing the aortic valve during open heart surgery has been a gold standard in treating aortic stenosis,” said Dr. John Wang, Chief of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at MedStar Union Memorial and Scientific Director for Baltimore Cardiovascular Research. “However, during a TAVR procedure, we can replace the diseased aortic valve using a catheter, through a small incision in the groin. The heart remains beating. The study will allow us to examine if this option is best for patients who are at a lower risk who could safely undergo the surgical replacement.”

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is a regional leader in performing TAVR procedures, having done over 300 of these since it was first introduced in 2012. Presently, the technology is approved only for patients who are high- or intermediate-risk for the surgical replacement of their aortic valve.

The study, which is supported by the MedStar Health Research Institute, will include up to 1200 patients and follow up for up to 10 years.

Learn more about aortic stenosis and the study, by visiting

About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations. MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic, the nation’s #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac

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