Heart Valve Care Across Long Island
St. Francis Heart Center is a leader in the safe and effective treatment of aortic stenosis and mitral valve disease to help you live an active and healthy life. Our dedicated and compassionate team of board-certified interventional cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and highly-trained heart and vascular staff give you the best outcomes for heart valve repair and replacement using minimally invasive procedures whenever possible.
While open-heart surgery has been standard for treating conditions like aortic valve stenosis, our pioneering cardiologists are experts in transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures that offer patients the latest advances in catheter-based, minimally invasive surgery.
St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® is nationally rated by U.S. News & World Report for cardiology and heart surgery.
Innovative Care at Our Heart Valve Centers
You will find heart valve specialists and services at Catholic Health's heart valve centers in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Our centers are a one-stop destination for the screening and treatment of valve disease.
- The John Brancaccio Heart Valve Center at St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® (Roslyn, NY)
- St. Francis Heart Valve Center at Good Samaritan Hospital (West Islip, NY)
St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® is a leader in heart valve surgery, performing more TAVR procedures than any other hospital on Long Island.
Diagnostic Tools & Conditions We Treat
Our multidisciplinary approach includes nationally recognized interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons who work together to determine the safest and most successful course of treatment for your condition. We provide same day testing and consultation. Treatment depends on the type and severity of your heart valve disease.
Your cardiac care team will screen, evaluate and determine the best treatment for your specific heart valve condition. Screenings include:
- Echocardiogram. Sound waves create pictures of the heart and the blood flow through the heart. These pictures are more detailed than standard X-ray images.
- Computerized Tomographic Angiography (CTA). Conventional computerized tomographic (CT) scans and intravenous injections of a contrast dye create detailed images of the blood vessels in the chest, abdomen and pelvis.
- Pulmonary Function Test. A group of tests that measure how well the lungs work. During the test, you breathe into a mouthpiece that is connected to an instrument called a spirometer. The spirometer records the amount and the rate of airflow as you breathe in and out over a period of time.
The aortic valve controls blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. Aortic stenosis (AS) occurs when the aortic valve doesn’t open properly. This forces your heart to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. Over time, the heart muscle weakens. This affects your overall health and keeps you from participating in normal daily activities. Left untreated, severe AS can become a serious, life-threatening condition that leads to heart failure and increased risk for sudden cardiac death. Severe AS is not always preventable and may cause narrowing of the aortic valve.
Risk factors include:
- High cholesterol
- Radiation therapy
- Rheumatic fever (childhood bacterial infection of the heart)
- Stenosis (buildup of calcium deposits that narrows the aortic valve)
Signs and symptoms include:
- Chest pain or tightness
- Feeling faint or fainting with activity
- Murmur (unusual sound heard during a heartbeat)
- Palpitations (irregular heartbeats)
- Shortness of breath
The mitral valve keeps blood flowing from the left atrium to the left ventricle of the heart. Mitral valve disease develops when the valve doesn’t work correctly.
Types of mitral valve conditions include:
- Mitral stenosis. Narrowing of the mitral valve opening, causing less blood to flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle. The restricted blood flow causes the left atrium to enlarge. Mitral stenosis almost always results from rheumatic fever, a childhood bacterial infection of the heart. Symptoms are similar to those of aortic stenosis (AS).
- Mitral valve regurgitation (leaky valve). Occurs when the flaps or leaflets of the mitral valve don’t close tightly, causing blood to leak backward into the heart. The most common cause of the problem is mitral valve prolapse, in which the leaflets bulge back into the left atrium as the heart contracts. It could damage the heart muscle if left untreated.
Heart Valve Procedures
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure that allows patients who are too old or sick to avoid open-heart surgery. This is also the preferred approach for patients who have large enough femoral or leg arteries. Typically, patients go home after one day in the hospital following a TAVR procedure.
An interventional cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon use X-ray and echocardiography to guide a prosthetic valve to the heart through one of five access points. We use either the Medtronic CoreValve® or Edwards Sapien Valve®. Both are approved for high-risk and extreme-risk patients.
- Transfemoral—the femoral artery
- Subclavian—an incision under the clavicle
- Transcaval—a puncture from the inferior vena cava into the aorta
- Transaortic—an incision in the top of a heart
- Transapical—an incision in the bottom of a heart
Frequently Asked Questions
Studies show that patients at high risk for surgery who underwent a TAVR procedure had similar outcomes to surgical patients. You can still have a TAVR procedure if you already have a tissue valve. Our team will provide complete instructions before your procedure. Don’t stop taking your medications without consultation.
With a few exceptions, general anesthesia or moderate sedation anesthesia is used during a TAVR procedure. Anesthesia time is about two hours. This is in contrast to open-heart surgery that requires general anesthesia for about four to five hours.
If you are not currently taking a blood-thinning medication, such as Coumadin (warfarin sodium) or Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate mesylate), your physician will likely prescribe aspirin and Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate) for stroke prevention. You will be prescribed the appropriate doses before hospital discharge.
You will also need to take prophylactic antibiotics if you have a dental procedure other than a standard teeth cleaning. We encourage you to contact your physician who will consult with your dentist before an invasive dental procedure.
Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair using MitraClip or replacement (TMVR) is a minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure to treat mitral regurgitation. A TMVR is for patients who are too high risk for surgery.
St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® was the first hospital on Long Island to implant MitraClips.