“By working closely together, we’re able to offer patients treatments that we never could have imagined would be possible,” says Dr. Amar Krishnaswamy.  | Photo: Annie O'Neill

Thump-thump … thump-thump … thump-thump … The backbeat of life known as a heartbeat is actually the sound of your heart valves opening and closing. This cardiac drum kit consists of four valves: aortic, mitral, pulmonary and tricuspid. At Cleveland Clinic, where caregivers continue to build upon a history of breakthroughs in valve repair and replacement, there are more ways than ever of keeping everything in good working order. 

“We’re moving the field forward,” says Amar Krishnaswamy, MD, Section Head of Interventional Cardiology in the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine within the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute. He holds the T.V. Connelly Family Chair in Interventional Cardiology. 

So much of the research that we do is made possible by the resources provided to us by our donors. For this, we are grateful.

Dr. Amar Krishnaswamy

In recent years, TAVR has been paired with other catheter-based treatments, with promising results. 

A Cleveland Clinic-led trial has shown that a Sentinel™ cerebral embolic protection device reduces the risk of disabling strokes by capturing and removing tiny pieces of calcium and other fragments resulting from TAVR before they can reach the brain. 

A different trial, also led by Cleveland Clinic, has demonstrated benefits for patients with atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart rhythm) who undergo TAVR along with the insertion of a Watchman™ left atrial appendage closure implant to guard against blood clots. The combo eliminates the need to be on blood thinners, which can have significant side effects. 

Another innovation, the MitraClip™, has emerged as a minimally invasive repair alternative to surgery for high-risk patients with severe degenerative mitral regurgitation — a leaky valve. 

“We’ve become more facile with these devices,” Dr. Krishnaswamy says. “We also have a better understanding of how to select patients properly.” 

A key to success in these areas is Cleveland Clinic’s vaunted “team of teams” approach. 

“Most of the procedures that we do involve multiple caregivers, not only from cardiology, but from imaging and other disciplines,” Dr. Krishnaswamy says. “By working closely together, we’re able to offer patients treatments that we never could have imagined would be possible.” ♥