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A new way to replace heart valves.

A groundbreaking surgery pioneered by Dr. John Brown at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis may greatly improve the quality of life for patients who require replacement of the hardest working of the heart's four valves--the mitral valve on the left side of the heart.

In the new procedure, the malfunctioning mitral valve is replaced with the patient's own pulmonary valve taken from the less stressed right side of the heart. This valve is then replaced with tissue from a human donor.

"This procedure is a tremendous advance and offers great opportunities for many people," said Dr. Brown, who is also Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the IU School of Medicine. "It allows patients to function normally, including athletic activities, and allows women to have children."

Dr. Brown is currently the only surgeon performing pulmonary autograft mitral valve replacement surgery in the United States. Surgeons from around the country are being trained in the procedure.

Previously, use of replacement valves made of metal and plastic required that patients take blood thinners, severely limiting physical activity and increasing the risk of birth defects.
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Title Annotation:Neighborhood Heart Watch; mitral valve replacement
Author:Zipes, Douglas
Publication:Medical Update
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U3IN
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:182
Previous Article:Drug protects weak hearts.
Next Article:Preventing heart disease.
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