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St. Thomas doctors perform cutting edge heart valve procedure

Posted at 5:29 PM, Jun 19, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The doctors at St. Thomas Heart have performed an experimental and potentially life changing surgery that could change the way some people with heart conditions are treated.

Cardiologists took part in a limited heart valve replacement program called a Summit Trial. What they do is a less invasive surgery where the doctors make and incision on the side of chest and replace a leaky heart valve with a device called a Tendyne Valve.

Interventional Cardiologists were looking for a candidate for the trial, which will happen on only 350 total people across the world and at 40 facilities. Patients with a leaky mitral valve experience potentially life threatening conditions as a result of the faulty valve letting blood flow the wrong direction. It can cause shortness of breath, swelling in some joints or even death.

The doctors at St. Thomas performed the surgery earlier in 2019 and the patient is recovering well.

"The people that we're evaluating for this type of valve therapy with catheters and wires tend to be patients that are higher risk for traditional surgery," said Dr. Andrew Morse. "Many of them have had prior heart surgery before. They've had prior stents put in before. They've had a history of strokes, mini-strokes, diabetes or other types of medical conditions that make them higher risk to traditional surgery."

Dr. Morse said he hopes St. Thomas Heart performs 15 to 20 more valve replacements in the next few years since this first trial went so well.