Across the St. Louis region, our distinguished heart valve team is known for being able to provide potentially lifesaving treatments for complex cases. Our skilled specialists work closely with patients, families and referring physicians to deliver personalized care to each patient we treat.
At the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart & Vascular Center, our doctors practice evidence-based medicine – performing cutting-edge procedures that offer more options and fewer risks for people with heart valve disease.
Our Team Approach to Heart Valve Treatment
Our heart valve team meets on a weekly basis to discuss all of our patients and their treatment paths. We work together to develop the best care plan for you. These discussions include input from our entire team of experts, including:
- Cardiologists: These doctors have specialized training in evaluating and treating heart valve disease. Our cardiologists work closely with you, your primary doctor and your family to decide on the right course of treatment.
- Heart surgeons: With hundreds of procedures performed each year, our skilled surgeons are experts when it comes to heart valve surgeries. Through advanced surgical procedures, we are often able to provide treatment to patients deemed high-risk or impossible to treat at other centers.
- Interventional cardiologists: Our specialists in minimally invasive transcatheter procedures have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating heart valve problems. In fact, our teams have pioneered new techniques that result in an easier recovery, with less pain and a shorter hospital stay.
- Cardiac sonographers: These medical professionals use ultrasound machines to take pictures of your heart, so your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis.
- Nurses: You can expect exceptional care from our nurses. Many have master’s degrees and advanced certifications in caring for patients with heart disease. Patients consistently rate our Heart & Vascular Center nurses among the best in the nation.
Collaborative Care for Heart Valve Disease
Heart valve disease is a serious condition that requires expert treatment. We make every effort to provide timely visits with our specialists, and we take the time to answer all of your questions.
Our team works closely together throughout the course of your care. We also work to keep your primary doctor or referring physician informed, so that you receive seamless care before, during and after treatment.
Our process includes:
- Collecting all outside information ahead of time. Our specialists review your records before your appointment. With a full history of your condition, your heart valve doctor can evaluate your needs more thoroughly.
- Keeping your primary doctor updated on your condition. When we work together, all of your doctors are up to speed on your condition. Our collaboration also helps you receive the care best suited for your current needs.
- Providing prompt appointments. When possible, our specialists will see you within about a week of receiving your medical records. We also schedule your visits with the cardiologist and the surgeon on the same day, so you avoid making extra trips.
- Informing you before your appointment about what tests you need. Whenever we can, we schedule tests for the same day as your appointment.
Fully Equipped Heart Valve Team
At Barnes-Jewish Hospital, our doctors have access to the latest technology for achieving the best results possible. For example, during minimally invasive operations like transcatheter procedures, our specialists need a clear view inside your heart.
Our doctors work in new hybrid rooms outfitted with advanced equipment that allows them to see a video view of your heart moving in real time. Doctors can track the electrical impulses that trigger your heartbeat’s rhythm, so they know right away if the procedure has worked.
Clinical trials are crucial for developing the next generation of heart valve care. Through our partnership with Washington University School of Medicine, our heart valve team is participating in several clinical trials at any given time.
Recent examples include:
- TAVR: We were among a select group who helped develop the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure. This groundbreaking procedure paved the way for less-invasive options for patients with heart valve disease. These options eliminate the need for open-heart surgery and provide shorter recovery times. We continue to be involved in ongoing trials, including the use of this technology in low-risk patients.
- Transcatheter mitral valve repair: Our team also participated in trials of a successful new procedure called transcatheter mitral valve repair with MitraClip therapy. This minimally invasive procedure stops blood from flowing backward in the heart by repairing your existing mitral valve.
- Transcatheter mitral valve replacement: We are involved in ongoing trials to evaluate new procedures that can replace a faulty mitral valve without open-heart surgery.
Our heart team’s involvement in these exciting advances means they are experts in their field. They’ve seen and treated even the most complex cases, with excellent results.
To make an appointment with a Washington University heart valve specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call 855.925.0631.