Stenosis of the aortic valve can be detected both in infants (the congenital heart defect) and elderly people (the consequence of calcification, infections, etc.). German doctors have suitable options for patients of any age. The treatment of aortic valve stenosis in Germany includes administration of novel medications in people with mild pathology and the direct correction of the diseased valve in people with more severe clinical manifestations. German physicians strive for lifelong normalization of the heart function, and advanced technologies give them such a chance.
In people with aortic valve stenosis, the flow of oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body is limited or even blocked. Medications are unable to eliminate the cause of the pathology, but they can alleviate symptoms and prevent certain complications.
Such medications are:
- Beta-blockers for slowing down the heart rate
- ACE inhibitors for reducing blood vessels constriction
- Antiarrhythmics for making heart rate more regular
- Diuretics for reducing the amount of fluid and making heart work easier
In people with mild aortic valve stenosis drug therapy can be quite effective for a long time, provided that medications are taken regularly. However, certain limitations of physical activity may be recommended, along with a constant medical follow-up.
In the absence of sufficient effect, physicians shift the treatment strategy to more invasive options, which correct the stenosis directly.
Balloon aortic valvuloplasty
During the balloon valvuloplasty a surgeon inserts a long flexible catheter into the artery in your groin or arm. Ballong is attached to the catheter and moved with its help to the target region – the right heart ventricle and aortic valve.
Once the catheter is in the correct place, the balloon on its end is inflated, stretching the narrowed valve. In a while, the balloon is deflated and removed. The procedure is well-tolerated and doesn’t require general anesthesia: injecting a local anesthetic into the skin at the catheter insertion site is enough.
The balloon valvuloplasty is more effective in infants and children, as in adults relapses are quite frequent. This can be a temporary option for adults who can’t tolerate more extensive surgery due to the health condition or who are on the waiting list for a valve replacement.
Aortic valve replacement
To achieve the reliable and long-term result, the aortic valve stenosis replacement with a biological or mechanical prosthesis is carried out. The intervention completely restores physiological blood circulation, allowing heart work without additional load.
The biological valve prostheses are manufactured from a patient’s own pericardium (the external heart layer) or with the help of tissue engineering technology. Using own tissues is preferable in young women, who are planning pregnancy in the future, as such implants do not cause immunological rejection.
The mechanical prostheses are manufactured of pyrolytic carbon. Such artificial heart valves are not attacked by the immune system, but they require lifelong anticoagulant therapy. Another advantage is a long service life – up to 30 years.
In German hospitals, the aortic valve replacement is the minimally invasive intervention. The transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) does not require sternotomy or usage of the heart-lung machine. TAVI can be safely performed in high-risk and debilitated patients.
Hospitals and treatment costs
Due to the variety of therapeutic approaches, the treatment of aortic valve stenosis requires coordinated work of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, interventional radiologists, and general practitioners. Thus, the leading hospitals are multidisciplinary German healthcare facilities:
- University Hospital Essen
- University Hospital Oldenburg
- University Hospital Ulm
- University Hospital Frankfurt-am-Main
- University Hospital Tuebingen
The surgery cost in Germany is regulated by the legislation and depends on the chosen procedure, age of the patient, presence of comorbidities, and other factors. You can find prices offered by different hospitals on the Booking Health website.
Booking Health is the certified medical tourism provider that has arranged treatment of heart pathologies in the leading German hospitals for over 12 years. Citizens of all countries can contact Booking Health and become a medical tourist.
Specialists of the company assist in selecting the hospital and medical program, making an urgent appointment, issuing visa and preparing documents, arranging flight and transfer, translating medical reports, and much more. Your personal assistant will be in touch with you 24/7 during the whole treatment.