Transcatheter Valve-in-Valve Replacement Revitalizes Elderly Patient’s Life

An 83-year-old woman, previously active, had been confined to bed for almost 2-3 months due to symptoms such as shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and pulmonary edema, aggravated by pneumonia. Upon detailed evaluation, it was revealed that she had heart valve surgery 14 years ago, during which a bioprosthetic mitral valve was implanted. Unfortunately, the valve had deteriorated over time, necessitating further intervention.

Superintendent Wei Jeng of Cheng Hsin General Hospital noted that in the past two decades, numerous patients in Taiwan have received bioprosthetic valve implants. These valves typically last 10 to 15 years before they begin to wear out, similar to materials like leather or plastic, resulting in valve failure and the need for replacement to prolong the patient’s life. Given the increased risk associated with repeat open-heart surgeries, “transcatheter valve replacement technology” offers a safer alternative for replacing worn-out surgical bioprosthetic valves, offering patients a chance to start anew.

Cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Lee Yung-Tsai explained that the hospital formed a multidisciplinary team, including cardiovascular surgeons and cardiac imaging specialists, to perform the mitral valve transcatheter procedure and replace the faulty valve. The operation was a success, and the patient showed remarkable improvement post-anesthesia. She was put on a comprehensive rehabilitation program, encompassing physical therapy and regular check-ups, and made a swift recovery with the help of targeted exercise and medication.

Post-procedure, the woman witnessed a dramatic improvement in her health. She regained the ability to breathe normally, manage personal hygiene, shop, and engage in community and family activities independently, reducing her reliance on her family for support and reclaiming her zest for life. Dr. Lee highlighted the transformative impact of the transcatheter “valve-in-valve” procedure, which restored the patient’s independence and significantly enhanced her quality of life.

In recognition of Cheng Hsien’s outstanding performance in transcatheter “valve-in-valve” replacements for damaged surgical bioprosthetic valves, the hospital was recently designated as the “Teaching Center of Excellence for Mitral Valve-in-Valve in the Asia-Pacific Region.” A recent plaque unveiling ceremony commemorated this achievement, marking another significant milestone for Cheng Hsin General Hospital.