Heart Valve Ring Reverses Damage From Congestive Heart Failure, Easing Symptoms

Armen Hareyan's picture
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SAN FRANCISCO - A new heart valve ring appears to help congestive heart failure patients regain lost heart function, reversing the disease's effects on heart structure in two ways and easing their disabling symptoms, researchers reported here at the 85th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

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A prospective study of the first 25 patients who had surgery to install the ring shows that it reduced the leakage of blood back through the mitral valve, which leads to the heart's main pumping chamber. But it also changed the shape of that chamber, called the left ventricle, helping its muscular walls contract and pump blood better.

All 25 patients had mitral valve regurgitation (leakage) as a result of distorted left ventricles, and were experiencing severe symptoms, before having surgery to install the ring. All experienced great improvement in their symptoms, and lived at least a month after the operation. All but two were still alive six months after surgery.

The ring was co-invented by Steven Bolling, M.D., the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center cardiac surgeon who presented the results on behalf of the research team, and by Italian cardiac surgeon Ottavio Alfieri of the St. Raffaele Hospital in Milan. The ring is made of titanium and silicone rubber.

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