New Heart Valve Replacement Technique Minimally Invasive

Doctors say new heart valve replacement surgery is a great option for most patients. Imagine a heart surgery that has patients back home in 2-3 days and back to normal activity in a week. It’s a technique that’s giving new meaning to the term “minimally invasive.”

For Bob Jacobs, it all started in the middle of the night when he woke up short of breath due to a leaky heart valve. Dr. Mini Sivadasan (Cardio Thoracic & Vascular Surgical Associates) explains that, “[As] the valves leak, the blood in the ventricle starts to distend the heart, and it can actually impair the function of the heart if it is left for a long time.” Jacobs condition got worse, and what his doctor told him about the treatment really took his breath away. “He told me he would have to split my chest open in order to get access,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs had recently had invasive cancer surgery and was hesitant to undergo another major operation. So he did an internet search and found Christ Hospital. “They said that they would make a slit here and spread my ribs,” Jacobs said. “They would go in there and replace the valve in that manner, which I thought was pretty amazing. And it was amazing.”

The surgery was performed using a technique that Dr. Mini Sivadasan, a cardiothoracic surgeon, brought with her from New York. Jacobs was the first patient. “We’re actually approaching the valve through a space that already exists,” said Dr. Sivadasan. “You’re not really cutting anything. You’re not breaking anything.”

Dr. Sivadasan did not do the surgery alone. She was joined by a team of surgeons including Dr. Pat Pappas and Dr. Tony Tatooles. “By avoiding breaking the breastbone and approaching the valve through a different route, the time it takes to heal the bone wasn’t a factor in his recovery,” Dr. Tatooles said. “And going between the ribs, as opposed to going through the center of the breastbone, facilitates recovery. We also think there’s a little bit less blood loss associated with the operation itself. And the overall trauma of surgery is a little bit less. We think and we talk about what is the most efficient, and what is the best practice that we can apply our patients to really improve the quality of their life.”

Jacobs is thrilled with the outcome of the surgery. “I do everything I did before,” Jacobs said. “I [even] play golf a little better.”

Doctors say they weigh the pros and cons of adopting new technology and in this case, for most valve replacement patients, it’s a great option. However, not all patients are candidates. To find out more, please visit:

Dina Bair
WGN News
Copyright 2011