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Lenox Hill Hospital Announces Clinical Breakthrough in Valve Repair

"This is a dramatic leap forward in enhancing safe and effective treatment of para-valvular leaks in post valve replacement surgery patients."
- Gary Roubin MD, PhD
Chairman, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital

A Lenox Hill Hospital multidisciplinary cardiac and vascular team pioneered an important new technique on March 2, 2009 to repair para-valvular leaks with greater patient safety. 

Following valve replacement surgery para-valvular leaks can sometimes form around an artificial heart valve and is a serious post surgical complication. Repeat surgery can repair these leaks, but such surgery is very risky.  Percutaneous techniques (using catheters inserted through the skin into blood vessels rather than opening a patient’s chest) are much safer, but reaching the leaks can be difficult or impossible using standard catheter insertion sites.

It is much easier and more effective to reach the para-valvular leak by placing a catheter directly into the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber.  Direct heart punctures (called trans-apical trans-thoracic catheterization of the left ventricle) have been done effectively, but patient safety and recovery time have been compromised by excessive bleeding of the ventricular puncture site.

The Lenox Hill team led by Dr. Carlos Ruiz has the largest experience in the world in catheter techniques and prosthetic plugs to close para-valvular leaks.  For the first time ever the Lenox Hill physicians used collagen and coil devices together to close the ventricular puncture site in a trans-apical catheter based repair of a para-valvular leak.

The patient experienced very little bleeding, and was discharged in just 48 hours.   Prior to this breakthrough, recovery times of 7 to 10 days have been seen.

In addition to Dr Ruiz, the Lenox Hill team was composed of Dr. Howard Cohen, an interventional cardiologist, and Dr. Robert Rosen, an interventional radiologist and a world authority in coil and collagen embolization methods.

With over 90,000 prosthetic valve replacement surgeries annually in the United States, and 280,000 worldwide, the procedural breakthrough can significantly reduce the risks and increase the success rates of leaky valve repair in as many as 10,000 patients a year.