New Mitral Valve Repairs Hearts


JACKSONVILLE, Fla.  (Ivanhoe Newswire)— Seniors are surviving longer than ever before and researchers are working on ways to make sure older adults can live healthier lives into their 80’s and 90’s, even when dealing with chronic diseases. Every year, 182,000 people have a heart valve replacement. And now many of those patients will need to have that valve replaced during their lifetime.

This February marks 34 years for John and Susan Bowler, an anniversary they didn’t know if they would make.

John’s wife, Susan Bowler says, “He’s had two heart surgeries. Two open heart surgeries.”

Bowler’s first surgery at age 45 was a bypass. His second repaired a failing mitral valve. So, when he started having trouble walking Tommy and Floyd, he knew it was life-threatening.

“I would go around, and I’d have to stop, you know, catch my breath.” Bowler says.

Siddharth Wayangankar, MD, MPH, FACC, FSCAI, RPVI a structural interventionalist at Baptist Heart Specialists Jacksonville told Ivanhoe News, “He could barely walk 10 feet.”

(Read Full Interview)

Another open-heart surgery was too risky. But timing was everything. A new FDA procedure gave Bowler a second chance to replace his already repaired mitral valve. Blood flows between the different chambers of the heart through valves. On the left side of Bowler’s heart, his mitral valve replacement was not working. A new procedure, called transcatheter mitral valve in ring, or TMVIR, uses a catheter to replace a valve in the ring.

Dr. Wayangankar explains, “The innovative factor about this procedure is that we have used the technology that’s tried and tested in the aortic position. We take the same valve, we reverse it. We go from the right side of the heart to the left side, all transcatheter, all minimally invasive through the groin of the patient.”

The valve starts working immediately. Compared to open heart surgery, patients recover quicker and feel better faster. Now Bowler is back on the right track, with Tommy and Floyd leading the way.

“He keeps pulling me everywhere,” Bowler jokes with Ivanhoe News.

Bowler says he was refused by three surgeons for open-heart surgery. He was too high of a risk. Without this new minimally invasive procedure, he says there would have been little doctors would, or could, have done to save him.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer, Editor.

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BACKGROUND: Aortic valve repair and aortic valve replacement are procedures that treat diseases affecting the aortic valve, one of four valves that control blood flow through the heart.

The aortic valve helps keep blood flowing in the correct direction through the heart and it separates the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle) and the main artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to your body (aorta). With each contraction of the ventricle, the aortic valve opens and allows blood to flow from the left ventricle into the aorta. When the ventricle relaxes, the aortic valve closes to prevent blood from flowing backward into the ventricle. When the aortic valve isn’t working properly, it can interfere with blood flow and force the heart to work harder to send blood to the rest of the body. Aortic valve repair or aortic valve replacement can treat aortic valve disease and help restore normal blood flow, reduce symptoms, prolong life and help preserve the function of the heart muscle.

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DIAGNOSING: Many heart valve problems are identified by the presence of a murmur. While some murmurs are harmless, others can indicate a valve problem. Heart valve problems can be caused by congenital defects, aging and age-related valve disease, and illnesses and conditions. Heart valve problems may include stenosis, regurgitation, prolapse, and atresia. Heart valve problems make the heart work harder and over time this can lead to heart failure. It is important to have yearly check-ups with a health care provider or specialist to see if lifestyle changes and medication can help your heart from needing a heart valve replacement. In some cases, surgery may be needed to repair a damaged valve and sometimes the valve must be removed and replaced with a new one.


NEW STUDY: In the study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, researchers found that during the initial growth phase of TAVR programs between 2012 and 2018, United States hospitals in wealthier communities and metropolitan areas were more likely to start TAVR programs, while hospitals in poorer or rural communities were less likely to start TAVR programs. The number of TAVR procedures were 1.19 percent lower for each 1 percent increase in patients with markers of lower socioeconomic status. The analysis indicates just over 98 percent of the new TAVR programs during the six-year study period opened in metropolitan areas and were in metropolitan areas that had pre-existing TAVR programs 50 percent of the time.



Kristi Tucker


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Siddharth Wayangankar, M.D., interventional cardiologist

Read the entire Q&A