McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
faculty member Giovanni Speziali, MD (pictured), Attending Cardiac Surgeon and Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, along with other doctors from the Mayo Clinic, developed a procedure to treat sub-valvular chordal damage – the primary cause of degenerative mitral regurgitation (DMR) – via minimally invasive implantation of artificial chordae tendineae. The team of doctors licensed this medical technology to NeoChord. The Minneapolis-based medical device company recently enrolled the first patient in its European clinical trial, known as TACT (transapical artificial chordae tendineae). The trial is being conducted in Germany, Denmark, Czech Republic, and Norway.
DMR occurs when the leaflets of the heart's mitral valve do not close properly, usually due to rupture or elongation of the chordae tendineae (chords) that control the leaflet’s motion. During pumping, the “leak” in the mitral valve causes blood to flow backwards (mitral regurgitation) into the left atrium, thereby decreasing blood flow to the body. Mitral regurgitation is a progressive disease that left untreated can result in atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, and death.
The cardiac surgeons who performed the first procedure on a very active 47-year-old male said they are very pleased with the early results. Intra-operative transesophageal echocardiography confirmed that the patient’s severe, eccentric mitral regurgitation was reduced to zero or trace mitral regurgitation. The procedure successfully treated the patient’s mitral regurgitation and potentially offers him a quick return to his military career and favorite hobby, scuba diving, per the surgeons.
Dr. Speziali proctored the procedure. “These results, although early, are equivalent to what we obtain in traditional open heart surgery for correction of mitral regurgitation,” he said.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
NeoChord Press Release (10/28/09)
Medical News Today (10/29/09)
Bio: Dr. Giovanni Speziali