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Bret Hanna
Bret Hanna
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New Heart Procedure May Be Alternative to Open Heart Surgery

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Heart valves are typically replaced through invasive open heart surgery procedures which, along with the benefits, pose significant risks. A new procedure, however, may offer an alternative for those who are not good candidates for open heart surgery because of age or other physical limitations. A new minimally invasive procedure which uses a catheter inserted through a leg to replace valves could be the answer for thousands who are not good candidates for the open heart procedure option.

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston is conducting a clinical trial on the new procedure which involves the insertion of the catheter into an artery through a small incision in the groin area. The catheter then follows the artery to the heart and when in the proper position, a balloon unfurls and implants the new valve so that it can begin its normal function. One patient in the Mass General clinical trial, Robert Shaw, is now a believer. And now this cutting edge procedure has made its way to the Intermountain West.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported today that Rose Felice, an 87 year old from Helper, Utah, who suffers from heart disease, is the first to undergo the procedure in the region. The procedure was performed by the cardiac team at Intermountain Healthcare’s new flagship facility, the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah. Rose’s procedure was part of the clinical trial known as Placement of Aortic Transcatheter Valve Trial or PARTNER sponsored by Edwards Life Sciences. U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval may be two to three years down the road but the prospects look very promising for those who are not candidates for open heart surgery.

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    I find this topic very interesting. I notice that most of the patience in clinical studies for surgery are older. I have a daughter with a VSD that has yet to close. Could this be an option for her in the future, if needed. At this time, things are going well for her – no major concerns.