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Heart Problem Solved Without the Risky Open-Heart Surgery

Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital has successfully implanted the pulmonary heart valve. The Cardiac team did not use the open-heart surgery for this purpose. This is the first time such a surgery has taken place in the region. Four patients have already undergone this landmark treatment at the OHSU Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiac Catheterization Lab. All the recipients have reported remarkable improvement in the energy levels and the stamina.

This device, the Medtronic Melody® Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve, was recently approved by the FDA. The valve can replace a leaky or narrow pulmonary valve, which is a tube that connects the heart to the lungs. It can be used for children as well as adults who have already undergone a surgery to correct the congenital heart defect. Earlier, the pulmonary valve replacement was carried out through an open-heart surgery.

The device is inserted through a tiny opening in the leg and then guided into the heart through a catheter. According to Grant Burch, M.D., OHSU Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiac Catheterization Lab, children with abnormal heart valves might need about four surgeries before they reach adulthood. Open-heart surgeries come with their risks. The Melody device can extend the life of the valve conduit and might decrease the number of operations required by the patient. More than about 1,700 patients have already been implanted with the valve since it was approved in the Europe.

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