KU hospital announces better heart valve fix

heart-valueA national study shows that a new procedure is effective in fixing a bad heart valve without open-heart surgery, the University of Kansas Hospital announced this week.

The hospital was one of 45 national sites in the study that found that more patients were alive after one year if they got the new minimally invasive surgery rather than traditional open-heart surgery.

The new treatment involves a device called Core Valve that repairs a faulty aortic valve, which is the “heart’s main gate,” hospital press release states.

Nationwide, several hundred thousand people have a bad aortic valve, which can stiffen and narrow with age and slow blood passage.

The only previous fix was to open the chest, cut out the bad valve and put in a new one. With the Core Valve, the system is inserted through a leg artery and guided to the aortic valve, where it expands into place and takes over the function of the valve.

The study to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 19 percent of open-heart surgery patients died after one year compared to 14 percent of Core Value patients.

Also the Core Value system can be used with older and weaker patients who are at poor risk for regular surgery.

“It’s an absolute game changer,” said Dr. Trip Zorn of the hospital. “This technology has offered us an option for those who had no surgical option, that medicine was their only therapy.”


Dr. Trip Zorn, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of Kansas Hospital, shows the core valve and explains its use.

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