The University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital says they are the first facility in Alabama to offer a new minimally invasive procedure for replacing heart valves.
Physicians in UAB Heart and Vascular Services are the only ones trained to offer the Edward Lifesciences SAPIEN transcatheter heart-valve-replacement system. According to UAB cardiothoracic surgeon James E. Davies, Jr., M.D., assistant professor in the UAB Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, the team is on schedule to perform its first surgery in early August.
"Given the fact that we perform more valve procedures overall than anyone in the state — and have since the inception of our program – we are excited to be home to Alabama's most comprehensive valve clinical and surgical treatment program and to be the first to offer this unique, life-saving procedure to the people of Alabama and surrounding states," Davies says.
The American Heart Association says nearly 1.5 million people in the U.S. suffer from hardening or narrowing of the aortic valve with around 500,000 suffering severely. Davies says virtually all patients in the 'severe' category that are not candidates for open surgery are recommended for the treatment.
"Patients who have severe aortic stenosis have a 50 percent chance of dying within one-and-a-half to two years after the onset of symptoms without treatment," Davies says.
Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart-valve replacement was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2011.
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