Repairing Hearts Without Surgery
According to Medgadget.com, the Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve is used for patients with congenital heart defects. It is used primarily to assist those with defects involving the connection between their right ventricle and pulmonary artery. Often, this type of defect requires open-heart surgery early in life to implant a prosthetic valve-conduit to ensure adequate blood flow from the heart to the lungs. However, the lifespan of these conduits is limited, and patients often must undergo multiple surgeries. "To reopen the chest many times is obviously uncomfortable for the patient, but it's also dangerous in a way," Philipp Bonhoeffer, M.D., chief of cardiology at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, told Ivanhoe. The Melody valve provides a non-surgical way to restore effective valve function and prolong the lifespan of prosthetic conduits.
This technology is designed to allow doctors to deliver replacement valves via a catheter through the body's cardiovascular system. This eliminates the need to open the chest. In the past, open heart surgery has been required to correct the problem. The Melody heart valve is crimped down into the delivery catheter's balloon and is then fished through a vein in the groin and into the right side of the heart where it is placed into position within the pulmonary valve. The small balloon is then inflated to open up the valve into position. The catheter is removed from the body, and the Melody immediately becomes the new pulmonary valve.