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Atlantic Health System’s Dr. John Brown Explains Heart Valve Replacement

April 3, 2019

Dr. Brown addresses valve replacement options on heels of Mick Jagger’s anticipated procedure

A variety of news reports have stated that Mick Jagger will have a heart valve replacement this week. Because further details are not available, John M. Brown III, MD, The Grant V. Parr Chair, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery and Vice-Chair Cardiovascular Medicine, Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center, has provided further context on heart valve replacement in the Q & A below:

What is a heart valve replacement?

Heart valve replacement is a procedure to replace a narrowed valve in the heart that fails to open properly.

There are four valves in the heart—aortic, tricuspid, mitral, and pulmonary. The most commonly replaced valve is the aortic valve.

How are they performed?

Currently, the standard is open-heart surgery, which is associated with a longer recovery time than non-surgical approaches and is not always possible in sick patients.

Over the past few years, surgeons have been replacing some heart valves with a minimally invasive procedure, where the heart valve is replaced via a catheter inserted through a small incision in the groin (versus an open-heart procedure). For aortic valves, this is known as a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). For the mitral valve, the procedure is called a transcatheter mitral valve replacement (TMVR).

These procedures are associated with a shorter length of stay, less pain and bleeding, smaller scars, and being physically mobile earlier than with traditional open-heart procedures.

Why are they performed?

The most common reason patients need an aortic valve replaced is due to aortic stenosis (AS), one of the most common and serious valve diseases caused by a narrowing of the aortic valve opening, which restricts blood flow from the left ventricle of the heart to the aorta.

The most common reason patients need a mitral valve replaced is mitral valve regurgitation, which occurs when blood flows backward through the mitral valve and into the atrium each time the left ventricle contracts, increasing blood volume and pressure in the left atrium.

What are the symptoms of Aortic Stenosis?

Symptoms of AS include loss of breath, chest pain such as pressure or tightness of the chest region, fainting, feelings of a heavy, pounding heart, decreased physical activity or an unusual sound heard between heartbeats known as a heart murmur. If left untreated, aortic valve stenosis leads to serious heart problems including heart failure and death so having an alternate to surgery can literally be a life-saver.

What are the symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation?

Mitral valve regurgitation can cause shortness of breath and reduce the amount of blood that moves forward out of the heart to the body. If left untreated, severe mitral regurgitation can lead to declining heart function and heart failure.

About Heart Care at Atlantic Health System

The Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at Morristown and Overlook Medical Centers, part of Atlantic Health System, is home to New Jersey’s largest cardiac surgery program, and provides patients with world-class medical experts and award-winning cardiovascular diagnostic and treatment services. Specializing in open-heart, minimally invasive and non-invasive procedures, Gagnon offers its patients individualized care at a hospital that was named one of America’s 20 Best Hospitals for Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Care by Healthgrades. Nationally ranked in cardiology since 2012, the heart care team at Atlantic Health System includes cardiologists with expertise in multiple disciplines, cardiac surgeons, vascular specialists and allied health professionals.

About Atlantic Health System

Atlantic Health System is at the forefront of medicine, setting standards for quality health care in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the New York metropolitan area. Powered by a workforce of more than 16,800 team members and 4,800 affiliated physicians dedicated to building healthier communities, Atlantic Health System serves more than half of the state of New Jersey including 11 counties and 4.9 million people. The system offers more than 400 sites of care, including six hospitals: Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, NJ, Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ, Newton Medical Center in Newton NJ, Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains, NJ, Hackettstown Medical Center in Hackettstown, NJ and Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, NJ.

In addition to the employed workforce, Atlantic Alliance, a Clinically Integrated Network represents more than 2,500 health care providers throughout northern and central NJ. This network includes 1,000 physicians and providers comprising one of the largest multi-specialty practices in New Jersey, Atlantic Medical Group, as well as members of the Atlantic Accountable Care Organization and Optimus Healthcare Partners which work to enhance patient care delivery.

Atlantic Health System provides care for the full continuum of health care needs including 12 urgent care centers, Atlantic Rehabilitation and Atlantic Home Care and Hospice. Facilitating the connection between these services on both land and air is the transportation fleet of Atlantic Mobile Health.

Atlantic Health System leads the Healthcare Transformation Consortium, a partnership of seven regional hospitals and health systems dedicated to improving access and affordability and is a founding member of the PIER Consortium – Partners in Innovation, Education, and Research – a streamlined clinical trial system that will expand access to groundbreaking research across seven health systems in New Jersey.

Atlantic Health System has a medical school affiliation with Thomas Jefferson University and is home to the regional campus of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Morristown and Overlook Medical Centers and is the official health care partner of the New York Jets.