Pr. Frederic HEIM
R&D Manager at GEPROVAS - Strasbourg/France
Professor at Universite de Haute Alsace-Mulhouse/France
Transcatheter Heart Valve Therapy. Latest Advances
Non invasive surgery, also called percutaneous or transcatheter surgery, has become today a technology of choice to relieve patients from vascular and heart valve diseases like stenosis. Far less traumatic for the patient, this technique is also less expensive and less time consuming, which makes it very attractive for the medical world. Its use is today limited to either non operable patients or patients with high risk for open chest surgery. But the part of trans-catheter procedures is expected to increase by 20% a year up to 2017 alone in Europe according to market forecast studies. Thus, non-invasive procedures can be expected to concern non-critical patients in a more or less close future. However, in that context one of the main limits of existing devices is related to the fragility of the biological tissue, which is used as valve material (chemically treated bovine or porcine tissue). Degradations occur especially when the valve is crimped within the stent for catheter insertion purpose. Textile material could be a potential candidate to replace biological tissue. Among fibers available, one that has been used most extensively in implants (arterial and stent grafts for example) is polyester. It is biocompatible and resistant to degradation when in contact with body fluids. The first results obtained today with textile for the valve application are encouraging. However, several issues are still to be addressed before textile becomes a clinical serious candidate for valve replacement.