Medical center offers veterans cutting-edge artificial heart valve
The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center became the first VA to offer an artificial heart valve, which was recently approved for commercial use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Made by Edwards Lifesciences, the Sapien heart valve is implanted through a catheter as an alternative to open heart surgery for patients with inoperable aortic valve stenosis disease.
Without treatment, victims usually die within two years. But performing open heart surgery on older and sicker patients suffering from the disease is often too dangerous.
The Sapien valve provides a safer option. By replacing the diseased valve, it helps move blood out to the rest of the body, keeping the heart strong.
“Before this operation, I couldn't take a shower without giving out,” said Guy Pardue, a World War II veteran, in a press release. “My doctor at the Monroe VA Clinic shipped me to the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport, La. After some tests, they said I was in worse shape than they thought and needed to go to Houston in a hurry.”
Pardue received a transcatheter aortic valve on May 30.
“Today, I feel renewed,” he said. “These doctors and nurses gave me my life back.”
The artificial valve, made of bovine tissue and stainless steel, is about the width of a pencil when deployed through an artery in the groin. Once it arrives at the correct location, the valve releases, replacing the diseased one.
“This new technology could add years to the lives of our patients,” said Dr. Samir S. Awad, operative care line executive at MEDVAMC. “We are proud the center has some of the best doctors and nurses in the country and offers the latest, minimally invasive alternatives for our veterans.”
For more information, visit www.houston.va.gov.
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