SSM Health Medical Minute: Local hospital leads research that may end open heart surgery

ST. LOUIS - A new procedure may change the approach to a heart procedure that used to require open heart surgery.

Transcatheter mitral valve replacement allows surgeons to replace a difficult to reach valve without open surgery. SSM Health SLU Hospital will soon be one of the research sits for the procedure.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement has been around for about 10 years. Since there is no open surgery, it has led to shorter hospitalizations and quicker recovery, and set the stage for this new area of medicine.

Dr. Richard Lee, SLUCare co-director of Cardiac Care at SSM Health SLU Hospital, will be part of the study.

“With a small incision in the chest, without the heart lung machine, a poke in the heart directly and then deploying and replacing this valve from the inside without opening anything up," Lee said. "This next step through is like when we landed on the moon. It’s going to be a tremendous step for all patients in the future.”

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