For the first time in the United States, doctors used a minimally invasive procedure to replace a failing, hard-to-reach heart valve with a new one — and placed it just outside the heart.
Due to prior medical procedures, the metro Detroit woman was not a candidate for traditional open heart surgery to replace her failing tricuspid valve. One major U.S. medical center turned her down for treatment. Doctors at another said her only option was a heart transplant.
Henry Ford is the first hospital in the U.S. to perform the unique, transcatheter tricuspid valve replacement, which was pioneered in Germany. The woman's tricuspid valve, one of four valves that regulates blood flow in the heart, was replaced during the 2-hour procedure July 31. The woman stayed five days in Henry Ford Hospital and was released to her home.
"There are a lot of people who have damage of the tricuspid valve, and the surgery is risky, so doctors just try to give them medical therapy," says William O'Neill, M.D., medical director of Henry Ford's Center for Structural Heart Disease and lead physician for the procedure. "They get a lot of swelling and severe liver congestion. They're in and out of the hospital, and it really causes a lot of morbitity. So there's a huge, unmet clinical need. Individuals with this type of valve problem now have another option."
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