Medical technology developer St Jude Medical has implanted the first patient with its Portico Transcatheter aortic heart valve using the transapical delivery system.
The transapical procedure, which was performed at St Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, Canada, makes small incisions between the patient's ribs to deliver the valve through the apex (or lower tip) of the left ventricle of the heart.
Featuring leaflets made of bovine pericardial tissue, the CE-marked 23mm Portico aortic valve is designed to treat patients with severe aortic stenosis who are at high risk of needing open-heart surgery.
The device can also be completely resheathed (the process of bringing the valve back into the delivery catheter), repositioned at the implant site or retrieved before it is released from the delivery system, according to the company.
St Paul's Hospital cardiac transplant director and surgery associate professor Dr Anson Cheung said; "The Portico heart valve offers additional options in terms of resheathing, retrieving or repositioning the valve which in turn facilitates more accurate placement."
In addition to transapical delivery, the Portico valve can be implanted through a catheter inserted in the transfemoral artery which is located in the leg.
St Jude Medical cardiovascular and ablation technologies division president Frank Callaghan said; "The first patient implanted with the transapical delivery approach represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to provide physicians a wide range of options to best treat their patients."
The Portico aortic heart valve, the transapical delivery system and the transfemoral delivery system are not approved for use in the US.
Image: The 23 mm Portico valve treats patients with severe aortic stenosis who are at intermediate risk of needing open-heart surgery. Photo: Courtesy of St Jude Medical.