Physicians in the US have implanted a new investigational heart valve in a patient through a small puncture hole in the leg.
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 heart 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.
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 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.
"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 the Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center in Houston 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."(ANI)