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Growing outcomes evidence spurs renewed interest in unique heart valve procedure

ATLANTA September 21, 2009 CryoLife, Inc. (NYSE: CRY) Elite cardiovascular surgeons from around the world will travel to suburban Atlanta this week for the two-day Ross Summit to review and discuss current peer-reviewed data relating to the survival advantage of the Ross Procedure and to practice the technical nuances required to perform this heart surgery successfully.

The Ross Procedure is a type of specialized aortic valve surgery in which the patient's diseased aortic valve is replaced with his or her own pulmonary valve. The pulmonary valve can then be replaced with a cryopreserved human pulmonary valve.

Nine peer-reviewed articles regarding the Ross Procedure representing individual series from eight different countries, comprising a total of 2,234 patients have appeared in major medical journals over the past four years and report that:

  • The Ross Procedure is associated with excellent long-term survival;
  • Late survival with the Ross Procedure is comparable to that of the age-matched general population; and
  • There is an excellent propensity-adjusted survival with the Ross Procedure in a pediatric patient population study compared to the excess mortality demonstrated with using a mechanical valve (as reported by one of the nine reports).

Led by Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, FRS, FRCS, of Imperial College's Heart Science Center in London in tandem with William F. Northrup III, MD, vice president of physician relations and education at CryoLife, the Ross Summit will have a faculty of more than 30 world-renowned cardiovascular surgeons and cardiologists, who will present clinical data on heart reconstruction surgery at their respective clinics. The summit includes two sessions of hands-on instruction in the various techniques of cardiac reconstruction.

The Ross Procedure is performed on up to 1,500 individuals globally each year -- a number that is expected to increase as survival data become more widely known.

"In children, young adults and in active older adults, the Ross Procedure offers several advantages over other traditional aortic valve replacement options," said Dr. Northrup. "The most important advantage is growing evidence of improved long-term survival over other valve replacement options. The procedure is also attractive because patients do not have to take long-term, blood-thinning medications after surgery as they would with mechanical valves. This is particularly appealing to women of child-bearing age, athletes and active adults."

These clear advantages along with the growing catalog of survivability data spotlighted at the summit are bringing new attention to the procedure from surgeons and potential patients.

"The Ross Procedure requires very specific surgical expertise to achieve predictable, long-lasting results, and The Ross Summit was created to foster data exchange to provide a well-rounded point of view in addition to offering critical procedural training," noted Steven G. Anderson, chairman, president and CEO of CryoLife.


Contact: Dana Hartline
Edelman PR

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