Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital doctors are the first in the state to perform a new procedure as part of an early feasibility study on a new device that could lead to widespread treatment of patients with a specific condition.

These doctors are doing the new tricuspid heart valve procedure as part of a study on the Intrepid Transcatheter Tricuspid Valve Replacement (TTVR) system. Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital is reportedly the only hospital in the state participating in this international clinical study, as of press time. The Intrepid TTVR system is an investigational device that the FDA labeled as a Breakthrough Device Designation late last year.

Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital officials say the tricuspid valve helps keep blood flowing in the right direction through a heart’s upper right chamber. The procedure is being studied for its use in patients who have severe, symptomatic tricuspid regurgitation, which can lead to heart failure or death. Tricuspid regurgitation impacts about 2 million people in the United States. It is a largely undertreated disease because of the morbidity and mortality linked with surgical intervention, according to Dr. Timothy Byrne, medical director of Cardiology Services at Abrazo Health.

The new device is implanted using a transfemoral delivery catheter, which is a minimally invasive method that permits physicians to position and place the valve through a catheter that is inserted in the femoral vein. Byrne said a “significant number of patients” are affected by heart valve disease, as well as tricuspid valve regurgitation and the hospital is excited to be among those doing research on the new device.

Dr. Merick Kirshner, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital, said while there has been much progress made in the transcatheter replacement of diseased aortic valves, whether doctors can replace the tricuspid valve without doing open heart surgery is a “new frontier in cardiology.” Many people who need tricuspid valve replacement would not be good candidates for traditional surgical tricuspid valve surgery because of the poor function of the right side of the heart, meaning they are high risk patients, Kirshner said.

Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital’s structural heart program provides options for patients with conditions that have a significant impact on the structure and function of the heart. To learn more, visit www.abrazohealth.com.




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