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Device Offers Hope for Patients With Leaky Heart Valve

May be option for those too sick for open-heart surgery, study suggests

THURSDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- A new device offers hope for patients with a leaky heart valve who are too sick for open-heart surgery, according to a study funded by the company that makes the device.

The Carillon Mitral Contour System acts like a belt to reshape an enlarged, leaky heart valve. The study found that the device safely treated leaky mitral valves even in patients with moderate-to-severe heart failure and reduced the backward flow of blood from the left ventricle to the left atrium.

After treatment, patients experienced less shortness of breath and reported a better quality of life, according to the study, which included 48 patients with moderate-to-severe functional mitral regurgitation, an enlarged heart, decreased cardiac pumping ability, heart failure and a reduced capacity for exercise.

Of those 48 patients, researchers were able to implant the device in 30 patients. The other 18 patients couldn't be treated with the device, because the heart's veins were too small, the device pressed on nearby coronary arteries and limited blood flow to the heart muscle, or the device didn't adequately reduce the backflow of blood through the mitral valve.

"This system is an exciting new option for patients and represents a significant improvement over medical management, the current standard of care. The Carillon procedure is very simple and can be performed in under an hour. This is important for these patients, who are generally very sick," study author Dr. Tomasz Siminiak, a professor of cardiology at Poznan University School of Medical Sciences, Cardiac and Rehabilitation Hospital Kowanowko in Poland, said in a news release.

The study was presented Thursday in Las Vegas at the annual scientific sessions of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions. The device, made by Cardiac Dimensions, was recently approved for sale in Europe.

More information

The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia has more about mitral regurgitation.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, news release, May 7, 2009

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