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St. Luke’s first in region to implant new aortic valve

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There is now another aortic valve for patients who are at high risk for traditional open-heart surgery.

St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem became the first in the region and among the first group of hospitals in the nation to implant a smaller, more refined transcatheter aortic valve, approved last month by the Food and Drug Administration.

“TAVR surgery provides relief for patient’s symptoms, improves overall quality of life and increases longevity,” said Stephen Olenchock, St. Luke’s chief of cardiothoracic surgery. “We are honored to be able to serve more patients with a better quality and longer life with the aid of the newest technology available.”

The Sapien XT model aortic valve, manufactured by Edwards Lifesciences of California, is for patients who have been deemed inoperable or at high surgical risk for traditional open-heart surgery. TAVR was a groundbreaking option two years ago that allows the diseased heart valve to be replaced without open-heart surgery.

“We are so pleased and proud to be among the country’s leaders in partnering with Edwards Lifesciences to provide this next generation of valves to our patients,” said Dr. Durkin, chief of cardiology at St. Luke’s. “Patients who were not candidates for the first generation of transcatheter valves are now able to receive this life-saving surgery.”

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Jennifer Glose

Jennifer Glose

Reporter Jennifer Glose covers health care, Berks County and other topics. She can be reached at jenniferg@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 111. Follow her on Twitter @jenniferg_LVB and read her blog, “Networking,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/networking-blog.

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