Artificial heart valve may save lives of the frail

Aug 04, 2011

Heart valve created in a lab may help save lives

An artificial heart valve that is designed to be implanted in patients who are too frail for open chest surgery has been created, possibly reducing the number of life insurance claims, according to the Associated Press. The device, made by Edwards Lifesciences, can be threaded through an artery, which may give patients who are not healthy enough for open-heart surgery a new option.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, 20 percent more patients who received the valve were living one year later than those who had the traditional care, the media outlet reports. Unfortunately, patients who had the device implanted had higher rates of stroke and bleeding in the brain.

The manufacturer will ask several cardiologists to discuss the risks associated with the device, although they do not have to. More than 50,000 Americans a year have open-heart surgery to replace this valve, but many are denied treatment because they are too old or ill, according to the news source.

While the company plans to show that 70 percent of patients who received the valve survived a year, the FDA plans to point out that not much is known about the survival rates after two years.  

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