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Hospital performs Connecticut's first pediatric transcatheter heart valve implant

8/1/2011 - Signaling a new frontier in the treatment of congenital heart defects and damaged heart valves, Yale New Haven Children's Hospital announced today that it has successfully performed its first transcatheter pulmonary heart valve replacement procedure, a non-surgical alternative to open-heart surgery.

YNHCH is the first hospital in the state to offer this minimally invasive procedure. The patient, a 5-year-old boy from East Haven CT, received the Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve and was discharged home the following day. He is doing fantastic according to his family and physicians.

Congenital heart disease patients often require open-heart surgery to restore effective blood flow to their lungs. Previously, the only way to repair or replace a failed pulmonary valve conduit was through additional surgery.

With the availability of this new transcatheter technology, physicians now have a non-surgical means to restore effective valve function and prolong the functional life of prosthetic conduits. The new catheter-based system allows an interventional cardiologist to deliver a replacement valve through a catheter requiring only a small incision, thus eliminating the immediate need to open the chest and delaying the patient's next surgical intervention. It can potentially reduce the number of open heart surgeries needed by some patients with congenital heart disease.

"Every day I witness the effects that multiple open heart surgeries have on patients' health and the anxiety that their families suffer, said Jeremy Asnes, MD, pediatric interventional cardiologist and an associate director of the pediatric catheterization lab at YNHCH, as well as a professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine. "We're excited to be able to offer the heart valve replacement procedure."

Dr. Asnes stressed that physician collaboration is key to helping congenital heart disease patients manage their condition. "Effective management of congenital heart defects over a patient's lifetime requires dedicated cooperation between cardiac surgeons, interventional cardiologists and other clinicians," Dr. Asnes said. "Together, we can draw on a variety of treatment options, and Melody is an important addition to the choices available to us."

Yale New Haven Children's Hospital (YNHCH) offers Connecticut's largest and most comprehensive array of maternity and pediatric services. With more than 200 beds, YNHCH includes newborn special care and maternal special care units, a pediatric intensive care unit, 24-hour pediatric emergency room, pediatric surgery center and a pediatric clinical research unit. YNHCH is part of the nationally recognized Yale New Haven Hospital.

Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), part of Yale New Haven Health, is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826, today, YNHH has two New Haven-based campuses, and also includes Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has received Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor of nursing excellence. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties.