First time in the history of medical science, a minimally-invasive tricuspid valve replacement surgery was completed at St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health in Toronto. This surgery is performed by Drs. Neil Fam, Mark Peterson, and Geraldine Ong.
The patient was a 76-year-old man. The doctors executed a catheter-based tricuspid valve replacement inserted via the femoral vein of his leg. This surgery has been reported to show a major improvement in the patient’s health after 48 hours.
The complete details are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Interventions.
The team which made this tricuspid valve replacement system possible is extremely overwhelmed on their success. A tricuspid valve replacement surgery is typically done through open-heart surgery or through a thoracotomy where the doctors make an incision in the ribs of the patients.
Both of these methods are effective but dangerous due to extreme invasive techniques. It adds the risk of complications in patients of older age. That is why the medical experts were trying for alternative options preferably with the less invasive protocol.
Dr. Neil.P Fam is an interventional cardiologist and Director of Interventional Cardiology and Cardiac Catheterization Labs at St. Michael’s. He says;
“Doing tricuspid valve replacements through the femoral approach is a game-changer as it opens up treatment options for patients with heart failure who are too sick to undergo surgery, or are not good candidates for tricuspid clipping. Going through the femoral vein means the risk of complications is dramatically lower.”
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Before this procedure was performed, the patient was educated about his condition and this new technique that is to be tried on him. The patient explained how even low effort tasks such as getting up from the bed seem so tiresome to him. And after the procedure, he was again contacted to know how this surgery helped him. To which he explained that it has eased his daily life tasks.
After this first successful surgery, St. Michael’s Structural Heart specialist team has completed many multiple tricuspid valve replacement procedures with the same femoral approach. All of the patients have shown remarkable improvement in their health status.
Since 2015, St. Michael’s has been working to provide transcatheter tricuspid valve interventions to the patients where these tricuspid valves are medically repaired by the qualified experts, by using the “MitraClip” and “PASCAL repair systems”.
But this is not the same for all patients. Doctors believe that tricuspid valves of some patients can not be repaired and it is rather challenging for them to develop another safe technique to treat them. It involved completely replacing the tricuspid valve.
The results of performing tricuspid valve replacement surgeries are also very promising and the doctors have planned many extended researches on them.