Lotus Valve May Save Elderly Patients
By, AAP The West Australian
June 18, 2012
A new treatment to
replace a major heart valve in patients could be
widely available in two years following the first
successful trial by Australian surgeons.
The treatment allows surgeons to replace the
aortic valve in patients suffering from narrowing
of the artery, a condition known as aortic
stenosis, without the need for open-heart surgery.
Eleven elderly Australian patients received the
life-saving surgery in the world-first trial.
The 90-minute surgery involves inserting a
synthetic heart valve, called a lotus valve,
through the groin and into the heart.
The device is unique because it can be withdrawn
and repositioned if necessary during the
procedure, said Professor Ian Meredith, the
director of MonashHeart at Melbourne's Monash
This manoeuvrability sets it apart from other
valves that have been used for the past three to
four years, he said.
The trial had a 100 per cent success rate and will
now be tested in larger international studies.
"This may be a huge new step for the treatment of
severe aortic stenosis in the elderly," Professor
Meredith told AAP.
"This is a tremendous start and it really is a
major cultural shift in the way we are going to do
heart-valve replacements in the future," he said.
The aortic valve is the major valve controlling
blood flow into the aorta, the main blood vessel
that feeds the body.
It opens 100,000 times a day - about 36 million
times a year.
In aortic stenosis, which affects older people,
the valve has calcified and doesn't open properly.
The condition causes breathlessness and if left
untreated, can cause death in about 50 per cent of
people with severe symptoms in two years.
Professor Meredith said the technique would be
trialled in 16 hospitals in Germany, France, the
UK and Australia.
A third trial will take place involving about 1000
patients across the US, Europe, Australia and
Professor Meredith said if the trials were
successful, the technique could be adopted more
widely in about two years.
Patient Muriel Satchwell, 86, was the second
person in the world to receive the new valve.
"I don't feel my old age as much as I did before
(the operation)," she told AAP.
"I feel perhaps
about 80, instead of 86."
Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital and the Royal
Adelaide Hospital were also involved in the recent