Features July 2010 Issue

Valve-in-Valve Implants Delivered Without Open-Heart Surgery

Research shows the catheter procedure is effective in replacing failing bioprosthetic valves.

When one of your heart valves fails and is replaced by a bioprosthetic valve from a cow or pig, there’s an understanding that the replacement may last 10 to 20 years, though there’s no way of knowing for sure. If a second valve replacement is needed, another open-heart surgery puts the patient at risk for complications and a long recovery. But a recent development could make a second valve repair easier on patients by implanting a new valve with a catheter through a small incision in the leg or between the ribs, rather than having to open up the chest.

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