Features September 2013 Issue

New Option May Help Patients with Pulmonary Valve Disease

A recently approved pulmonary valve replacement can be delivered with a catheter, making it available to patients unable to have open surgery.

A new heart valve approved by the Food and Drug Administration may be especially helpful for adults with a congenital heart condition that affects the health of the pulmonary valve.
It’s called the Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve, and it’s made from the jugular vein of a cow. The valve is sewn onto a stent, and the stent is then put onto a balloon catheter that is guided to the heart, usually through the femoral vein.

Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve.

The Melody valve is an especially valuable device, not just because it can be delivered with a catheter so open surgery isn’t needed, but because it can be placed inside an existing valve.

Medtronic, maker of the Melody valve, notes that the new valve will be helpful for adults who were born with congenital heart conditions that led to valve disease. These people often have multiple surgeries throughout their lives to help repair or replace the pulmonary valve—the valve that opens to send unoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs.

“This is very useful for patients with congenital heart issues who have already had a pulmonary valve procedure,” says Cleveland Clinic cardiothoracic surgeon Marc Gillinov, MD. “When their valve wears out they can get a percutaneous valve and avoid further surgery.”

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