Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center implants its first Sapien valves

FDA-approved Edwards Sapien transcatheter heart valve

Methodist is one of a small group of centers approved in the country to perform this procedure.

The valves are hard to attain, as a Wall Street Journal article published last week reports Edwards has been selective about the hospitals and academic medical centers to which it will sell the devices.

“We are proud to be able to offer this device to our patients,” said cardiologist Stephen Little, M.D., director of the MDHVC Valve Clinic. “It provides an option to some of the sicker patients with aortic valve disease who generally do not have many choices.”

The artificial valve is implanted through non-invasive methods. Doctors create a small hole in the femoral artery, moving the valve through the aorta with the help of a catheter, all the way to the site of the new aortic valve implantation. The Sapien can help restore normal blood flow in the heart in patients with aortic valve stenosis who would otherwise need open-heart surgery to replace the damaged and/or diseased valve, but for whom such a procedure is too risky.

The Sapien THV is used in patients whose aortic heart valve is damaged and/or diseased due to calcium build up and causes the valve to narrow (aortic valve stenosis) so blood is not able to flow efficiently.

For more information about the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center at 713-DEBAKEY (332-2539) or visit

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