Scientists Develop New Technique for Heart Valve Replacement

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Scientists develop a new method to make heart valve replacement safer, according to a study conducted on April 2, 2018.

This novel technique helps in the prevention of coronary artery obstruction that is caused during transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), which is a very rare but often fatal complication. Bioprosthetic Aortic Scallop Intentional Laceration to prevent Iatrogenic Coronary Artery obstruction (BASILICA) is the new method developed by scientists to increase treatment options for patients at high risk of valve damage.

TAVR is a method used to treat aortic valve stenosis, which involves threading a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter, through the femoral artery in the leg to the heart. An individual’s valve, which controls the amount of blood leaving from heart to other body parts is narrowed down when the individual is suffering from aortic valve stenosis. This leads to less flow of blood to vital organs and results in chest pain, blackouts, and heart failure. TAVR is a better option than open heart surgery for elderly or frail patients. However, some of the elderly patients are likely to develop coronary artery obstruction during this procedure and sometimes it is fatal.

Robert J. Lederman, the senior investigator in NHLBI’s Division of Intramural Research said, “There is no good treatment or prevention strategy for TAVR-induced coronary obstruction. The previous technique of using a stent to open the coronary artery appears to have poor long-term outcomes.” BASILICA is a solution to the problems caused during TAVR. In this method, the interventional cardiologist weaves an electrified wire that is similar to the size of a sewing thread through a catheter. Further, they use it to split the original leaflet in two, which prevents blocking of coronary artery once it has been pushed aside by the transcatheter heart valve. This new method is expected to reduce the number of deaths caused due to heart valve disease.

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