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Hospital studies minimally invasive alternative to open heart surgery for common heart disease

1/24/2012 — Yale New Haven Hospital is participating in a national clinical trial evaluating a minimally invasive procedure that can be an alternative to open heart surgery for patients who have severe aortic stenosis, a common heart problem caused by an abnormal narrowing of the aortic valve.

Called the CoreValve System®, the procedure replaces a diseased heart valve with an artificial valve which is typically delivered through a catheter from the femoral artery in the groin to the heart. The procedure places the new valve inside the diseased aortic valve without open heart surgery or without surgically removing the patient's original valve.

Yale New Haven Hospital has already performed six of these new CoreValve minimally invasive valve replacements.

"This procedure represents a major step forward in heart care," said Craig Thompson, MD, YNHH interventional cardiologist and principal investigator of the CoreValve trial. "These transcatheter procedures were performed percutaneously, or through a small hole in the skin, and the patients were back on their feet and doing well within a day or two. That brief recovery period compares favorably with the more than one week that would typically be required to recover from open heart aortic valve replacement."

Approximately 100,000 people in the U.S. — 300,000 people worldwide — suffer from severe aortic stenosis and one-third are considered inoperable. Currently, surgical replacement is the most effective therapy available in the United States.

YNHH's Heart and Vascular Center is a national pioneer in developing new heart treatments and therapies. As Connecticut's premier referral center, YNHH receives some of the most difficult heart patients from throughout New England — patients who come for heart transplants, high-risk valve or bypass surgery and angioplasty, as well as those who have irregular heart rhythms requiring an expert cardiologist.

Yale New Haven is currently enrolling patients for this trial. For more information about the CoreValve System, or to inquire if you are eligible for the trial, please call 203.483.3115 or toll free 855.205.1755.

Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), part of Yale New Haven Health, is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826, today, YNHH has two New Haven-based campuses, and also includes Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has received Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor of nursing excellence. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties.