Cow Valve Heart Implant, Edwards Sapien Heart Valve

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 05, 2011

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Highlights of the Article

Heart Implant Treatment Options.  A study using implants made of cow tissue shows promise in Heart Valve Replacement Surgery.   The "Cow Valve" implant according to US researchers shows similar survival rates as Open Heart Surgery.  The impant also extended the life expectancy.  The bioprosthetic impant is known as the Edwards Sapien Heart Valve. 



'Cow valve' heart implant shows promise: study

New Orleans, Apr 3 (AFP) A new type of heart valve replacement using a bioprosthetic implant made of cow tissue showed similar survival rates as open heart surgery and extended life expectancy, US researchers said today.


The new catheter-inserting technique is less invasive than conventional surgery and so may be a promising option for severely ill patients, but also carries greater risk of stroke and other major heart complications, said the findings.


The method lowered costs involved with rehospitalisation in frail, elderly patients and was found to increase life expectancy by as much as 1.9 years, said the research presented at the American College of Cardiology conference.


The study compared results among 699 patients with a median age of 84, who were randomly assigned to either transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or open heart surgery to replace the aortic valve (AVR). All the patients suffered from severe aortic stenosis, a clogged valve that impedes the pathway of oxygen-rich blood by making the heart work harder to pump blood through a narrowing opening. The condition affects nine per cent of Americans over 65. Without treatment, up to half of patients die within two years.  The TAVR process involves taking a wire mesh stent that holds three stitched-in valve flaps made of cow tissue, and inserting that into the heart via a catheter in a leg artery or under the rib cage.


The bioprosthetic, called the Edwards SAPIEN heart valve, is made by Edwards Lifesciences in California. The valve is treated with an anti-calcium building agent that helps cut back on the causes of stenosis. It is not yet available on the US market and is considered an "investigational device."


Early results from the study at the 30-day marked favoured the catheter insertion of the bioprosthetic, showing a death rate of 3.4 per cent compared to 6.4 per cent for the open heart surgery method.


Death rates evened out over time and were similar at one year, said the results of the one-year study, known as the PARTNER Trial, the first major randomised trial to compare outcomes of the two methods.


Those in the cow-valve group also saw lower risk of major bleeding (9.3 per cent compared to 19.3 per cent in surgery patients) and irregular heart rhythm (8.6 per cent compared to 16 per cent in the other group).  "These results clearly show that TAVR is an excellent alternative to surgical AVR in high-risk patients," said Craig Smith, co-principal investigator on the study.(AFP)



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