Public Release: 

Loyola implants 100th patient with less-invasive heart valve

Device has 'exceeded our expectations,' cardiologist says

Loyola University Health System

MAYWOOD, Ill. - Loyola University Medical Center has implanted its 100th patient with a new artificial aortic heart valve that does not require open-heart surgery.

Loyola achieved the milestone Dec. 16th, and the patient is doing well.

The heart valve is called the Medtronic CoreValve® System. It is deployed with a catheter, which is inserted into an artery in the groin and guided up to the heart. Once in place, the artificial valve takes over the function of the diseased valve. The system is much less invasive than open surgery.

"Patients who were desperately sick are now doing very well with this device," said Fred Leya, MD, director of interventional cardiology. "It has exceeded our expectations."

Loyola was the only Chicago-area center to participate in a landmark clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that patients who received the device had significantly lower mortality than heart-valve patients who underwent open-heart surgery.

After the device was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January, 2014, Loyola became the first Illinois center to offer it outside of a clinical trial.

The device is used to treat aortic stenosis, which occurs when the heart's aortic valve is narrowed, restricting blood from the heart to the body. The valve doesn't open properly, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, chest pain/pressure, heart murmur, shortness of breath during activity, heart palpitations and fainting. Aortic stenosis can lead to heart failure and death. About 100,000 people in the United States have aortic stenosis.

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