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Replacing Heart Valve through Tiny Puncture Hole

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The Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center is chosen as a site for a critical percutaneous heart valve study. As part of the research study, Methodist physicians will replace diseased cardiac valves through a single, tiny puncture hole in the research subject’s groin. Using this new technique in the study, researchers will be able to replace severely calcified and damaged aortic valves without open heart surgery or removal of the original diseased valve. The Medtronic Core Valve System, which is delivered into the individual’s heart via catheter, has been implanted in more than 12,000 patients worldwide and is available in 34 countries outside the United States. The trial incorporates expertise of both cardiac surgeons and cardiologists. Using this technique, physicians make a tiny puncture hole in the individual’s groin and thread a catheter through the femoral artery into the heart. The valve is delivered to the site of the diseased aortic valve through the catheter, and then the new valve is deployed inside the individual’s original valve, thus providing the individual with a functioning valve to allow for effective blood flow. The aorta is the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the body’s vital organs. Blood flows through the aortic valve when it leaves the heart. Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve that prevents the valve from opening fully. This narrowing restricts blood flow and causes fatigue, chest pain, light headedness, palpitations and weakening of the heart over time. When the valve becomes too damaged to be treated with medications, it needs to be replaced.

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