Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cardiac treatment gives hope to inoperable patients (USA)

Cardiac treatment gives hope to inoperable patients (USA)Many patients with seriously narrowed aortic valves have faced a bleak future with no medical options, but a new procedure now offers the sickest of the sick a promising treatment. Two patients are doing well after receiving a transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, using the first artificial heart valve that can be implanted without major surgery, a team of Buffalo physicians says. The physicians here are among the first nationally to use the Sapien valve, outside of doctors involved in the device's clinical studies. "This is the most exciting thing in cardiology since stents were developed for heart disease. Patients who were written off for dead beforehand will now have a therapy," said Dr. Vijay Iyer, who led the surgical team. Edwards Lifesciences received approval for the device in November from the Food and Drug Administration. Lifesciences estimates that 250,000 Americans suffer from severe symptoms of aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the main artery carrying blood out of the heart that occurs in older age. The company estimates a majority of the patients go untreated because they are deemed inoperable, have not received a definitive diagnosis, or have delayed or declined the procedure

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