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Awesome New Heart Procedure – No Open Heart Procedure

April 4, 2011

My mom has a couple stents. She could use a new heart valve, but she is too weak now to undergo the procedure. For people who require open heart surgery, the risk are high, the recovery long, and the prospect of having the procedure pretty darn scary.

ABC news reported tonight on the fairly new procedure. The procedure has been around for a few years, long enough to check its success rate which is equal to open heart surgery. see Reuters report below.

Reuters reports:
CHICAGO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – A potential breakthrough heart valve from Edwards Lifesciences Corp that can spare patients from chest-cracking, open heart surgery will take center stage at one of the year’s most important heart meetings this weekend.

Tens of thousands of cardiologists and researchers will gather for the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in New Orleans, a town famous for its artery-clogging cuisine, to discuss the latest advances in heart devices, drugs and procedures from April 2-5.

The most eagerly anticipated study being presented at the meeting will compare death rates in high-risk patients from open heart valve replacement surgery to death rates for those who get the Edwards Sapien system for transcatheter aortic valve implantation, or TAVI.

Doctors have said there may be more than 100,000 patients in the United States whose valve disease is either not being addressed, or who cannot tolerate open heart surgery, who may eventually be eligible for the TAVI approach.

The Sapien valve is threaded through the arteries to the heart via a catheter inserted either in the femoral artery in the groin or through a small incision between the rib cage, avoiding the need for open-heart surgery in which the ribs are sawed open, the heart is stopped and a new valve is sewn in.

Expectations are running high for the Edwards system, but doctors will also be looking for evidence of whether it raises the risk for stroke.

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