A less-invasive way to replace heart valves at Minneapolis Heart Institute

[Star Tribune, May 21, 2010] For more than two years, doctors knew they had to replace Amund Hendricks' diseased aortic valve. Trouble was, they couldn't. Hendricks, 84, was not considered healthy enough this time to surgically replace the valve.

All Hendricks' physician, Dr. Wesley Pedersen, at Allina Health's Minneapolis Heart Institute, could do was monitor the Osceola, Wis., man and prescribe medication. Until U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2011 approved a transcatheter heart valve -- a way to replace a diseased aortic valve without open heart surgery.

Last week, Pedersen opened a small incision in Hendricks' leg and snaked a new valve up into Hendricks' heart in the "cath lab" at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

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