News out of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health is music to the ears of children and adults with pulmonary valve congenital heart defects. Riley at IU Health has successfully performed the first three Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve implants in the state of Indiana.
The Melody valve is used to repair a blocked or leaky pulmonary heart valve that has already been replaced to correct congenital heart defects. The pulmonary valve is responsible for directing the blood flow from the heart to the lungs. The new treatment immediately restores pulmonary valve function and is considerably less invasive. The device is implanted via a catheter while the heart is beating, so open-heart surgery is not needed.
“Up until now, there hasn’t been a good, durable, long-term treatment for pulmonary valve disease,” said Dr. Mark Hoyer, the cardiologist with Riley at IU Health who implanted the valves. “The Melody device will have to be replaced at some point down the road; while it’s not a perfect solution, it is state-of-the-art technology so the benefits to our patients are significant.”
The Melody valve will likely reduce the number of open-heart surgeries patients face in the future to keep their pulmonary valves working properly. This is because all replacement valves eventually fail, leaving patients in need of additional treatments. Open-heart surgery has been the typical delivery method to date for those replacements. But now, the Melody valve offers treatment via a catheter instead.
The device is also adaptable to patients of varying ages, offering new hope for adult congenital heart patients. “It might surprise people to learn that there are actually more adults living with congenital heart defects now than children,” Hoyer said. “So, with this new device, we are not only extending the gap between surgeries for growing children, we’re also addressing the specialized needs of the increasing adult congenital heart patient population.”
According to the American Heart Association and the Adult Congenital Heart Association:
Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect.
Up to 1.3 million Americans alive today have some form of congenital heart defect.
In the United States, about 36,000 children are born with a heart defect each year.
At least nine of every 1,000 infants born each year have a heart defect.
There are an estimated 750,000 adults with congenital heart disease in the United States.
Riley at IU Health was the only Indiana hospital ranked in the top 50 national programs for Cardiology & Heart Surgery in U.S. News & World Report’s 2011-12 edition of Best Children’s Hospitals.