Doctors replace Valve sans Open Heart surgery

June 28, 2012

MELBOURNE doctors have successfully conducted the first trial to insert a fully repositionable replacement heart valve without the need for open-heart surgery.

Doctors at the Monash Medical Center heart unit, known as MonashHeart, saved the lives of 11 elderly women who were suffering from aortic stenosis, the degrading and narrowing of the main heart valve.

A team of cardiologists and surgeons, led by MonashHeart director Professor Ian Meredith, inserted a replacement heart valve, on the end of a wire, through a small hole in the groin of the woman, who was too frail to undergo the invasive open-heart surgery often given to younger patients with the condition.

Dubbed a ‘lotus valve’, the valve opens up like a flower once inside the heart, and can be easily repositioned. The trial, which reported a 100% success rate, promises to help save the lives of senior patients around the world.

Meredith, from the Department of Medicine at Monash University, said the prognosis for elderly aortic stenosis patients was usually about the same as people with advanced forms of cancer.

“When you have severe aortic valve narrowing and you become breathless as a consequence of that, more than half the people won’t survive 12 months,” he said. “Only about a third will survive up to two years.”

The team is enrolling patients for a wider, international trial of the lotus heart valve device. Sixteen facilities in four countries will take part in the new trial.

“This will have a significant impact on patients all around the world because this is a very common problem in the elderly,” he said.

Source: Monash University

Category: Technology & Devices

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