Successful replacement of the aortic valve in two patients without opening the chest was done for the first time by a team of surgeons in France. The procedure, using totally endoscopic aortic valve replacement (TEAVR), shows potential for improving quality of life of heart patients by offering significantly reduced chest trauma. It is described in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, an official publication of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.
Endoscopic surgery is already used by cardiovascular surgeons for procedures such as atrial septal defect repair and coronary artery bypass grafting. This leads to faster recovery time and less pain, which improves patients' quality of life.
TEAVR had not been feasible previously because of the currently available designs of stented tissue valves. The recent advent of sutureless bioprostheses mounted on a compressible self-expanding nitinol (nickel titanium) stent, was one of the key factors enabling the surgical team to perform this procedure. Implantation required less than 45 minutes in either patient. Sutureless substitutes are not yet available for the other cardiac valves, like the mitral valve.