INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Just one week ago, five patients were first in the state of Indiana, and some of the first in the nation, to receive a new life-saving aortic heart valve repair with a very unique implant. The surgery was performed by nationally recognized cardiothoracic surgeon, Marc W. Gerdisch, MD, FACS, FACC, FHRS.
One of the first things that strikes you about an innovative new heart valve implant is just how small and simple it looks – it is a small fabric covered frame about the diameter of your index finger. However, this tiny, ingenious device is making a huge difference in the lives of five patients at Franciscan Health Heart Center Indianapolis, and it is ultimately on track to help hundreds of thousands across the United States and beyond.
"The procedure strengthens the internal structure of the aortic heart valve and assigns it correct geometry, then the surgeon may make fine corrections to the valve's tiny, critically important leaflets (a little like the leaves on the aperture of a camera) to align together, enabling the valve to open and close properly," said Dr. Gerdisch. This prevents blood from rushing backward (regurgitating) into the heart, which can lead to heart failure and other life-threatening complications.
He adds, "The aortic valve is a workhorse of the heart, so repairs to it have to withstand great stress. As the largest blood vessel in the body, the aorta carries oxygenated blood at the rate of three feet per second as it leaves the heart, which beats approximately 2.5 billion times in a lifetime. This new implant is tough and elegantly simple. Behind it is exceptionally intelligent design derived from innovative, dynamic, 3-dimensional imaging."
An important advance in heart valve repair, the HAART Aortic Annuloplasty Devices are the first commercially available devices designed for repair of the aortic valve to work in this particular way.
"In patients with mitral and tricuspid valve disease, valve repair has become the standard of care due to superior outcomes compared to biological or mechanical valve replacement," commented Dr. J. Scott Rankin, inventor of the HAART Aortic Repair Technologies and Chief Medical Officer for BioStable Science & Engineering. "Annuloplasty rings are used for most successful valve reconstructions, and the HAART Aortic Annuloplasty devices are the first internal geometric annuloplasty rings to be developed for the aortic valve. Availability of an effective annuloplasty device could expand the benefits of valve repair to the majority of patients with aortic valve insufficiency."
For the patients of Dr. Gerdisch, the pioneering device means a new chance at life with a stronger heart. "The process of delivering the science to achieve the next advancement in surgery is ultimately about returning people to their lives and families. It becomes very powerful when it shifts patients away from artificial devices and allows reconstruction and preservation of their own heart structures. This has been and will remain our focus as investigators and practitioners," he said.
By Joe Stuteville
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