Bionic valve implant from pig can spare patients major heart surgery | Dailytrust

Bionic valve implant from pig can spare patients major heart surgery


Patients with a debilitating heart condition could be spared major surgery by a bionic valve implant.

The tiny device, which can be fitted in under an hour using local anaesthetic, is designed to treat aortic regurgitation, a condition that starves the body of oxygenated blood and leaves patients fatigued and breathless.

The problem occurs when the valve that sits at the exit to the heart, the aortic valve, becomes damaged and fails to close completely. This allows blood to leak backwards into the heart and affects its ability to pump efficiently.

It’s most commonly seen in older patients and those with high blood pressure. The damage may also be caused by infections.

Up to five per cent of the population suffer from aortic regurgitation, with roughly one in 20 hit by severe symptoms. In these cases, the only option is open-heart surgery, which involves opening up the patient’s chest, putting their heart on a bypass machine and replacing the valve.

However, many sufferers are left too frail to withstand this major surgery. In addition, until now there hasn’t been a valve implant designed specifically for aortic regurgitation – surgeons have been using implants designed to treat other forms of valve disease, which have a tendency to dislodge.

The new JenaValve Trilogy bionic implant, which has a metal frame and a valve from a pig, can be fitted during a minimally invasive procedure that takes less than an hour. “There’s been nothing like this before,” said cardiologist Professor Andreas Baumbach, who led the team pioneering the device at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

“The JenaValve Trilogy will make a huge difference. The first few hundred patients have been treated now and there has been almost a 100 per cent success rate.”

One of the first people in the UK to benefit from the new procedure was Ronald Pavett, 86, a retired Royal Mail worker from Chesham in Buckinghamshire.

First diagnosed in 2019, Mr Pavett underwent another type of valve replacement and had a pacemaker fitted, both of which failed to help significantly and his future seemed bleak.

Last month he had the JenaValve fitted and began to feel better almost straight away.

He said: “The op itself was totally painless – I didn’t feel a thing. I was up and about in a few days, and I’ve noticed so much improvement.”

– Mail Online


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