News | Cardiovascular Surgery | May 04, 2016

First Central Pennsylvania Patients Receive New Aortic Valve Reconstruction Procedures

Patients' own heart tissue used to reconstruct aortic valve

aortic valve reconstruction, surgery, PinnacleHealth, Pennsylvania

May 4, 2016 — Three PinnacleHealth patients recently underwent a new procedure for aortic valve reconstruction using the patients' own heart tissue (pericardium) to create the new valves. It was first available in central Pennsylvania at PinnacleHealth and is currently performed at a handful of institutions across the country.

Aortic valve reconstruction patients benefit from using their own pericardial tissue as it has fewer tendencies to scar and calcify, which is the main reason for failure of tissue valves obtained from animals. The body also is less likely to mount an immune response against the patient's own tissue. In addition, these patients do not need lifelong blood thinners, which are required when mechanical aortic valves are used.

"Aortic valve reconstruction represents yet another advancement at PinnacleHealth's CardioVascular Institute and our commitment to lead the way for the benefit of our patients," said Mubashir Mumtaz, M.D., FACS, FACC, chief of cardiothoracic surgery and surgical director of the structural heart program at PinnacleHealth. "Using one's own tissue has numerous benefits for the patient. The reconstructed valves are functioning well in all three patients three months post-surgery."

Mumtaz travelled to Japan to gain insights from the world-renowned team of Prof. Shigeyuki Ozaki in Tokyo, who has developed the procedure and published results in more than 400 hundred patients.

The purpose of aortic valve reconstruction is to repair the patient's own aortic valve in such a way as to restore it to its full function. Normally, the aortic valve has three flaps, or leaflets, that regulate blood flow by opening and closing, allowing blood to flow through the body. For those with aortic valve disease where the leaflets have abnormal function, the decision to repair or replace the valve is a complex decision.

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