Tuesday, April 25, 2006

New Heart Valve Has Promise

Interesting read on newer prosthetic heart valve design still under investigation by the FDA (but approved in Europe) described today in the Chicago Tribune. The valve is made by Shelhigh Inc., Union, NJ. The valve is a "valve conduit" bioprosthetic design that incorporates bovine (cow) pericardium and a porcine (pig) aortic valve that is treated in a patented technique to resist the build-up of calcium on the leaflets long-term. The longest follow-up with this valve is 9 years (in Europe), and while the follow-up is not as long as conventionally-available metal valves (that require the blood thinner, warfarin, and have over a 20-year clinical track record), it is promising that it might be less reactive than conventionally-prepared porcine valves. While this might be great, remember that this valve still requires open heart surgery. Percutaneously-implanted valves (one requiring no open-heart surgery and placed through a leg artery) are under development now, but remain much farther from clinical approval in the US.


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