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Food and Drug Administration has approved a artificial heart valve device that does not require major open surgery.
The heart valve is called the Medtronic CoreValve System. It is deployed with a catheter, which is inserted in an artery in the groin and guided up to the heart. Once in place, the artificial valve takes over the function of a diseased valve. Loyola patient Martin Rogus said that before receiving the new valve, he could not walk a single block without having to stop and catch his breath. Now he can walk a mile slowly, without stopping. (Read: 9 expert tips to prevent heart attacks in the winter!)
The FDA approved the device in January 2014 to treat patients with severe aortic stenosis who are too ill or frail to have their aortic valves replaced through traditional open-heart surgery. Such patients have a nearly 50 percent risk of death at one year unless they are treated. Aortic stenosis occurs when the heart's aortic valve is narrowed, restricting blood flow from the heart to the body. The valve doesn't open properly, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. (Read: 10 things that happen during a heart attack)
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. The traditional treatment is to replace the aortic valve through open-heart surgery. (Read: Know your heart health terms)
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