National

Sep 24, 2010 10:21 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

New valve procedure would end open heart surgery

An experimental procedure may someday be an option for older Americans who need a new heart valve, but are too frail to survive open-heart surgery.

Heart valve replacement generally requires major open-heart surgery which includes cutting through the breast bone and stopping the heart. But a new device not yet approved by the FDA involves snaking an artificial aortic valve up through the leg, then into the heart.

Patients in clinical trials who did not receive the new valve were more likely to die of various causes within a year.

Many of the patients who received the artificial heart valve were found to have a better quality of life.

Since the new valve is still in the experimental phase, it's unclear how long it would last, or how long patients might benefit.

This study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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