Your Healthy Family

Feb 27, 2013 9:31 AM by Marissa Torres

New approach to heart surgery

It's a new piece of technology causing patients to sing praises in the new way doctor's approach heart surgery. Now patients are praising the work of what's called the Melody Valve.

12 year old Jacob Ontiveros has dealt with medical issues his entire life, including a heart defect and swelling of his liver.

"Yeah, happy kid. I mean, he goes to school, enjoys life. I mean, you get to know him, it's real hard to forget the kid," says Jacob's father, Joe.

Jacob just experienced his 4th major heart procedure and his dad says the past surgeries have left his boy scarred physically.

"Yeah, he has scars. As a matter of fact he has one from here, that goes down. So, yeah, he has scars."

But thanks to an amazing piece of technology, this procedure will leave nothing but a small dot on Jacob's neck.

It's called the Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve, or Melody Valve for short.

"It's a valve that comes from a cow. From the Jugular vein of a cow. As you know, they graze, so they put their heads down. Also this valve helps the blood not go into their heads," says Juan Olano, a clinical specialist.

The $30,000 valve is then inserted into a small tube, that, in Jacob's case, goes through the neck and into his heart.

"Imagine yourself getting wires through a wall in your house. So, you need to put a wire and you need to put a hole in the very bottom part and top part, and not destroy the whole entire wall. This is the same way," adds Joe.

Once the valve is in place, the surgeon inflates the balloon and then deflates it before he pulls the wire back out... thus repairing the defect, for now.

"It's a platform that has changed, dramatically, the way we look at things. Because instead of having to do this, in an absolutely invasive manner, we're going less and less invasive. But with the same safeguards that we've had up until now."

 

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