Beth Israel Is First to Use a New Cardiac Device

BIDMC doctors implant CoreValve, a device that is expected to greatly open treatment options for patients with aortic stenosis.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center made medical history by being the first hospital in the country to use an innovative new cardiac treatment. On January 22nd, a team of specialists treated an 84-year-old-man with a device known as the CoreValve, which was just approved the previous week by the FDA. The minimally invasive device is designed to provide a new treatment for patients with aortic stenosis.

Aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the aortic valve. This valve is crucial in the circulation of blood from the heart to the body, and when it’s narrowed, blood flow is inhibited. About one-third of patients with severe aortic stenosis were unable to receive treatment because they were too weak for open-heart surgery, and with limited options, patients had a 50 percent chance of death within a year. Until now.

CoreValve provides a non-surgical treatment option for these patients, reducing risk of common complications like valve leakages and strokes. Instead of open-heart surgery, CoreValve is typically inserted through an artery in the patient’s leg. The doctor then directs this device to the aortic valve. There, it replaces the valve’s role by facilitating the flow of normal oxygen-rich blood from the heart through the body.

According to the press release:

“This implant marks a significant milestone in our institution’s history as we’ve been instrumental in confirming the safety and efficacy of this new device, and ultimately providing a viable new therapy to patients who otherwise have limited or no options,” said Khabbaz, co-principal investigator for the local trial that took place at BIDMC.

Aortic stenosis affects about 100,000 people in the U.S. and 300,000 people worldwide, typically affecting patients around the ages of 50 to 70. The CoreValve delivery method is so small that it can be implemented on patients with arteries of any size. According to the study, this new device will allow for an increased ability to treat aortic stenosis on even the most fragile patients.