Diseased heart valve replaced through small hole in the leg

Feb 21, 2011 By Erin Fairchild

Physicians at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center in Houston implanted a new investigational heart valve in a patient through a small puncture hole in the leg.

Mr. Dale Wilber, 69 year old retiree from Arkansas, had the new valve implanted in Houston on Feb. 16, 2011. The disease restricted blood flow from his to his vital organs. This can weaken the heart over time and cause chest pain, fatigue and heart failure. By having a valve implanted through a small hole in the leg, he hopes to shorten his recovery time and prevent complications that sometimes occur after major heart surgery. Wilber is recovering comfortably in his hospital room, hoping to be on the road in his 40-foot motor home exploring the country with this wife soon.

The new procedure is part of a clinical trial designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the investigational valve as a treatment for aortic stenosis, a life threatening narrowing of a heart valve. Aortic stenosis occurs when the valve that controls the flow of blood out of the heart becomes hardened and narrowed. The condition is progressive and is seen more frequently as patients age. As the valve becomes narrow, the heart has to work harder, and eventually becomes unable to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs, a condition known as congestive heart failure.

The only treatment available in the United States is a form of open heart surgery in which the diseased valve is removed and replaced with a new one. In patients with severe aortic stenosis who are fit enough to tolerate the surgery, the operation is life saving.

Worldwide, approximately 300,000 people have been diagnosed with this condition. However, in approximately one-third of patients who have aortic stenosis, the risk of open-heart surgery is too high, largely as a result of advanced age or other medical conditions. Traditionally, a valve is replaced with a tissue or mechanical valve during open-heart surgery, which requires a surgical incision in the chest and is usually followed by a recovery period that lasts several months.

The trial being performed at Methodist is studying transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). TAVI is being studied in part to evaluate whether recovery times can be shortened and whether the side effects of major surgery can be avoided, all while producing an outcome that is as good as that which results from traditional open heart operations. The trial incorporates expertise of both cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists.

"Using this technique, we make a small puncture hole in the individual's groin and thread a catheter through the femoral artery into the heart," said Dr. Michael Reardon, cardiac surgeon at Methodist and surgical principal investigator on the trial. "We deliver the valve to the site of the diseased aortic valve through the catheter, then deploy the new valve inside the individual's original valve, thus providing the patient with a functioning valve to allow for effective blood flow."

"It is very important that we find new ways to treat severe aortic stenosis, and to extend it to people in whom the current treatment options are limited," said Dr. Neal Kleiman, director of the catheterization labs at Methodist and cardiology principal investigator for the trial. "As the population ages, the need for this procedure will grow, as aortic stenosis develops with age."

In the U.S., this system, called the Medtronic CoreValve System will not be commercially available until the successful completion of this clinical trial and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The CoreValve System received CE (Conformité Européenne) Mark in Europe in 2007.

Explore further: Radiologist recommendations for chest CT have high clinical yield

Provided by Methodist Hospital System

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Heart valves implanted without open-heart surgery

Jan 07, 2009

An innovative approach for implanting a new aortic heart valve without open-heart surgery is being offered to patients at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Known as the PARTNER (Placement of ...

Diseased heart valve replaced through small chest incision

Feb 10, 2009

When 91-year-old Irvin Lafferty was diagnosed with severe blockage of his heart valve—hardening that is formally known as aortic valve stenosis—open-heart surgery was out of the question. He'd already survived quadruple ...

Major discovery in the treatment of aortic valve stenosis

Apr 18, 2008

A team of scientists from the Université de Montréal and the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre, led by Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, has completed an important study that show how a new type of medication can lead to an ...

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

fardelian
not rated yet Feb 21, 2011
"exploring the country with this wife soon."
Exploring the country with which wife? :)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.