First-in-Human Transcatheter Mitral-Valve Implant

June 18, 2012

June 15, 2012 (Copenhagen, Denmark) — Doctors in Denmark have become the first to implant a new bioprosthetic mitral valve into a person via a transcatheter approach [1]. Interventional cardiologists Drs Lars Søndergaard and Olaf Franzen and cardiovascular surgeon Dr Susanne Holme were among the team at the Rigshopitalet University Hospital in Copenhagen that implanted the valve as a compassionate treatment into an 86-year-old male suffering from severe mitral regurgitation (MR 4+).

Currently, the most advanced percutaneous devices for addressing mitral-valve dysfunction are focused on valve repair, chief among them the much-studied MitraClip (Abbott, Abbott Park, IL). But percutaneous valve replacement, increasingly done in the aortic and pulmonary valves, has remained elusive for the mitral valve. In an overview of the future for percutaneous mitral-valve therapy last year, heartwire outlined the difficulties faced with this approach, with doctors concluding this would one day be possible but was "not yet ready for prime time."

The valve used in Denmark was the CardiAQ prosthesis (CardiAQ Valve Technologies, Winchester, MA). The company says its technology, which it describes as "self-conforming and self-anchoring," is designed to make nonsurgical mitral heart valve replacement a future alternative to open heart surgical replacement and repair.

Asked his thoughts on this new development, Dr Ron Waksman (Washington Hospital Center, DC) said: "Percutaneous implantation of a bioprosthetic mitral heart valve is a giant milestone . . . that has the potential to be a real alternative to surgical mitral-valve repair/replacement in terms of reduction of mitral regurgitation." If it proves successful, this could "boost the entire field of percutaneous options for the treatment of mitral-valve disease," he added.