Henry Ford Hospital Combats Heart Valve Disease With New Innovation

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tA new technique developed at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit could help thousands of patients with heart valve disease each year, hospital officials say.

tDoctors recently utilized the procedure, developed by the hospital’s Dr. Maya Guerrero, which uses a catheter to deliver an artificial heart valve designed for aortic valve replacement to repair a mitral valve.

t“Not only did our team implant a different replacement valve than would normally be used in this part of the heart, but we needed to develop a new technique to do it,” says Dr. William O’Neill, medical director of the Center for Structural Heart Disease at Henry Ford.

tDuring a recent surgery, a team of specialists worked with Lee Young of Detroit, who was experiencing shortness of breath due to calcium buildup in his mitral value. Young had had two previous open-heart surgeries and was not a candidate for a third open-heart surgery. In order to deliver the new artificial valve to Young’s heart without open-heart surgery, the Henry Ford medical team used a catheter threaded from the femoral vein in the leg.

tThis technique, for which an FDA-approved trial at Henry Ford Hospital is being planned, provides a viable alternative for elderly patients who are too frail for open-heart surgery, O’Neill says. “The success of this innovative procedure…brings new options to physicians for mitral valve repair,” he says.

tApproximately five million people in the United States are diagnosed with heart valve disease each year, causing more than 20,000 annual fatalities, according to the American Heart Association. 

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