Valve replacement clinical trial at Ohio State's Ross Heart Hospital
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Published on Mar 29, 2012
94 year old Venetta Thropp knew she had a heart murmur....doctors diagnosed it when she was in her mid 70's. She lived with the condition for twenty years before sitting down with her doctor three years ago to talk about options. There was only one; open heart surgery to replace her aortic valve.
"They told me that eventually they were going to the procedure of going up through the groin and replacing the valve. So, I thought, I'll wait a while." - Venetta
Venetta's patience did pay off; last October she got word that OSU's Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital was one of only 45 hospitals chosen nationwide to participate in a clinical trial involving a whole new approach to treating aortic valve stenosis.
Dr. Juan Crestanello is a cardiothorasic surgeon at The Ohio State University and one of the principal investigators in a clinical trial that tests taking a new path to the damaged aortic valve in order to replace it. Instead of open heart surgery, the new valve is delivered via a catheter inserted in the femoral artery in the upper leg. Once the catheter reaches the heart, a balloon forces the damaged valve open. Then, a permanent replacement valve is implanted that takes over the function of the damaged valve. What does this mean for those selected to take part in the trial? An incision that used to span the chest now measures about an inch along the upper leg. There is no need to stop the patient's heart and lungs during the surgery. And recovery likely will be measured in weeks instead of months.
In order to make the screening process as efficient and convenient for patients as possible, The Ross Heart Hospital has created a valve clinic where trial candidates can come and in one day meet with a cardiologist, a heart surgeon, and even undergo tests including an echocardiogram, MRI, and CAT scan. All of a patient's needs are looked at in one visit and even if they are not a candidate for the clinical trial, the visit still pays off in valuable advice for treating their condition moving forward.
Venetta got the answer she had been waiting and hoping for. She qualified for the trial and was one of the first patients to undergo the new procedure. She was in and out of the hospital in just five days but says the experience with the doctors and nursing staff left a lasting impression.
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