Race is on to find fix for faulty heart valve

John Lesser

[Star Tribune, September 15, 2014] A minimally invasive alternative to open-heart surgery has become a competitive battleground for devicemakers who are racing to get new products into the market.

Open-heart surgery is still the preferred method of fixing a faulty aortic valve, but TAVR devices can be delivered to the heart through a small catheter tube snaked through an artery in the leg or chest.

Today the procedure is available only to patients with a high or very high risk of death from open-heart surgery, but industry boosters say it’s only a matter of time before the minimally invasive procedure is available to patients at moderate risk of death, potentially opening up the procedure to a wider patient market.

“I think it is realistic,” said Dr. John Lesser, a cardiologist with the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, which is a center for multiple clinical trials for TAVR devices. “I do think that in the longer term, probably the majority will be placed in the leg or in a small incision.”

The entire story is at startribune.com.

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