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Newer heart valves may let more people avoid surgery

Posted at 1:57 PM, Mar 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-16 14:57:08-04

Surgery for a bad aortic heart valve may soon become a thing of the past. Two studies find it’s OK to have a new valve placed through a tube into an artery instead.

Millions of people have a stiff or narrowed aortic valve that doesn’t let blood pass as it should. Fixing severe cases has long meant open-heart surgery. New expandable valves can be guided into the heart through a catheter in a blood vessel, but they’re only used now in people at high or moderate risk of dying from surgery.

The new studies tested them in people at low risk and found them as good or superior to surgical ones.

Results were published by the New England Journal of Medicine on Saturday.