Einstein Medical Center Montgomery has pioneered the use of an artificial aortic valve which takes half the time to implant than previous prosthetics, enabling patients to recover more quickly. Einstein Montgomery is the first and only hospital in the Philadelphia region to use the EDWARDS INTUITY Elite valve commercially, since it was approved by the FDA last summer.

With the addition of this technology, EMCM provides patients the full range of valvular heart surgery options, enabling physicians to individualize treatment for each patient’s conditions, whether it’s minimally invasive, traditional open-heart, or this shorter procedure.

“Our valvular heart team now has the full spectrum of capabilities, depending on what a patient needs,” said Mark Anderson, MD, chair of the cardiothoracic surgery division for Einstein Healthcare Network. “It’s a real step forward for Einstein and our patients.”

Dr. Anderson said the size and design of the new valve enable it to stay in place without the dozen sutures that are needed to install a traditional valve. “A dozen sutures takes a lot of time,” he said. “Putting the new valve in takes me half the amount of time—which means half the amount of time the patient is on the heart-lung machine. The data shows these patients wake up faster, get extubated faster, they’re in intensive care shorter and recover faster.”

In addition, while the valve has to be implanted surgically, it doesn’t require an open chest procedure. It’s done through a keyhole incision, a less invasive approach which also leads to quicker recovery.

When the aortic valve is narrowed because of scarring or calcium build-up, the heart has to pump harder to get the blood through the valve. The condition is more common in older patients and demand for the procedure is expected to increase as the population ages. Physicians at Einstein Montgomery, including Dr. Anderson and Dr. Alexandra Tuluca, perform multiple aortic and mitral valve replacements a month at Einstein Montgomery.

The valve was developed by Edwards Lifesciences Corporation, an Irvine, CA, company which creates devices to treat structural heart disease.

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