A new study by doctors at Columbia
University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital has found that people with a bad
aortic valve can avoid an open-heart surgery now and a new valve can be placed through
a tube in an artery in the groin or chest. The new valve is crimped on a
balloon and is passed through the narrowed, older or diseased heart valve and
this balloon is inflated new valve is left in that place. However there is an
uncertainty about how long the valves will last and there is a higher risk of
stroke. But doctors feel that if this new valve gets federal approval patients
will embrace this new technique as they accepted balloon angioplasty.
The aortic valve stiffens and narrows
with age. In severe cases the valve has to be replaced with surgery. But this
can be risky for many older people and about half of the patients die within 2-years
if they are not operated.
Doctors studied 700 people who were
at high risk for surgery. The average age of the patients was 84-years and
about 27% of surgery patients died after 1-year. But the risk of strokes and
neurological problems were twice as compared to patients who underwent open
heart surgeries. Other complications like major bleeding and atrial
fibrillation were more common after surgery and there were more blood-vessel
problems with the arterial approach. Leakage was also a common problem though
doctors expect the problem would improve with time.
The valve has been manufactured by
Edwards Lifesciences Corp. of Irvine. However doctors have warned that these
results are the outcome of a one year study and five more years would be
required to state the exact efficacy of this treatment.