Your heart may not be as powerful as it was back in the day, but a new heart valve may give you new options and new life.
The human heart, on average, will beat 2.5 billion times in one lifetime. Unfortunately, due to genetics, pollution, diet, smoking, and other factors, heart disease plagues the lives of many–especially as they age. The options for older patients who suffer from aortic stenosis to prolong their lives were once scarce. But now, a minimally invasive device recently approved by the FDA does as Luke Skywalker did and creates a New Hope for a group of patients that are often forgotten.
Aortic stenosis is a condition in which the individual has a build-up of white calcium deposits in their organic heart valve. Patients who suffer from this disease often tire quickly. But this new heart valve utilizes a metal stent and is applied to the heart using a catheter. When applied, the stent stretches the heart valve open to wedge into the worn-out valve, thus assisting in blood flow.
This may be a good option for weaker patients, who cannot go through open-heart surgery because it is minimally invasive.
As of now, the new device is only approved for patients who cannot undergo normal open-heart surgery–still the standard approach in replacing heart valves.
Because the device is so new, many medical professionals do not know how long the valves will last. But many suspect they could easily outlast the bodies in which they are placed.
After you have a heart valve replacement, or repair, Medicare covers cardiac rehabilitation, with doctor referral. The standard program covers up to two one-hour long sessions per day for up to 36 sessions over 36 weeks. Programs are subject to your plan’s copays and coinsurance.
Talk to your doctor about all of your options if you suffer from aortic stenosis. Contact SeniorChoices NW to schedule an appointment to review how your plan covers rehabilitation and see if you might need to make a change.