News | December 13, 2012

St. Jude Medical Announces First Transapical Implant of Portico Transcatheter Aortic Heart Valve

New surgical approach represents continued expansion of less invasive heart valve program

December 13, 2012 — St. Jude Medical Inc. announced the first patient implant of its 23 mm Portico transcatheter aortic heart valve using the transapical delivery system. In transapical valve delivery, a small incision is made between the patient’s ribs and the valve is delivered through the apex (or lower tip) of the left ventricle of the heart. The transapical procedure was performed by Dr. Anson Cheung, associate professor of surgery and director of cardiac transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Made of bovine pericardial tissue, the Portico transcatheter heart valve is designed to increase physicians' control and placement accuracy during valve deployment. The Portico valve is the first valve that has the ability to be completely resheathed (the process of bringing the valve back into the delivery catheter) and repositioned at the implant site before being released from the delivery system. The resheathing feature also allows the physician to retrieve the valve, if necessary.

“The Portico heart valve offers additional options in terms of resheathing, retrieving or repositioning the valve, which in turn facilitates more accurate placement,” said Cheung. “The ability to implant a heart valve via the transapical approach provides an important alternative to treat patients who are considered high risk for conventional open-heart surgery.”

Because the Portico heart valve can be implanted without placing the patient on cardiopulmonary bypass, where a machine takes over heart and lung function during surgery, this makes it an appropriate treatment option for patients with severe aortic stenosis. As an alternative to transapical delivery, Portico valves can also be delivered through a catheter inserted in the transfemoral artery, which is located in the leg.

“St. Jude Medical incorporates more than 35 years of heart valve experience into the design of the Portico valve and transapical delivery system,” said Frank J. Callaghan, president of the St. Jude Medical Cardiovascular and Ablation Technologies Division. “The first patient implanted with the transapical delivery approach represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to provide physicians a wide range of options to best treat their patients.”

Recently, St. Jude Medical announced CE mark approval of the Portico valve and transfemoral delivery system. The Portico transcatheter aortic heart valve, the transapical delivery system and the transfemoral delivery system are not yet approved for use in the United States.

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