The heart valve is called the Medtronic CoreValve System. It is deployed with a catheter, which is inserted in an artery in the groin and guided up to the heart. Once in place, the artificial valve takes over the function of a diseased valve.
The FDA approved the device in January 2014 to treat patients with severe aortic stenosis who are too ill or frail to have their aortic valves replaced through traditional open-heart surgery. Such patients have a nearly 50% risk of death at one year unless they are treated.
Aortic stenosis occurs when the heart’s aortic valve is narrowed, restricting blood flow from the heart to the body. The valve doesn’t open properly, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood.