Canadian doctors use novel Chinese heart valve to save patients

Johanna Eisenhuth, an 88-year-old lady who suffered from leaky aortic valve, was cured thanks to a novel Chinese heart valve that saved her from an open-heart surgery too risky to operate at her age.   Vancouver Sun reported Saturday that doctors at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver had been prepared to perform a revolutionary procedure that would fix her heart using the J-valve, a new device from China.   Her operation was performed under the guidance of cardiac surgeon Dr. Jian Ye and cardiologist Dr. John Webb from St. Paul's Centre for Heart Valve Innovation.   Only four implantations of the J-valve have been performed outside of China -- all of them at St. Paul's over the past six months, according to the report.   People with a leaky valve suffer from blood flowing backward into their lungs, which can cause shortness of breath and lead to congestive heart failure.   Ye said most prosthetic valves currently available are designed for calcified valves, but the J-valve is unlike traditional prosthetic valves in that it has "claspers" to clip it onto the leaky native valve.   Traditional replacement valves are anchored in place by calcification -- but if there isn't enough present they can be pushed into the heart or arteries, which can cause health complications or death, Ye said.   According to the report, J-valve implantation is a minimally invasive procedure that takes only a few minutes and the whole operation can be done in less than an hour. The patient is put asleep for the procedure but their heart is not stopped.   The report said Eisenhuth's operation was the first in the world to use an easier-to-implant, second-generation J-valve.   Just five days after the operation, Eisenhuth went back home, safe and sound. To the delight of her family, she is doing very well now, the report said.   Doctor Ji Zhang, inventor of the miraculous J-valve, told Xinhua in a recent interview in Vancouver that J-valv e has made a successful debut here since February and more operations using J-Valve to treat patients in other countries are expected in the future, such as Italy.   Zhang said J-valve was invented while he was working in Suzhou city in east China's Jiangsu province in 2009 and he got a patent in China.   He also mentioned that J-valve has completed more than 100 experimental operations in China and is now waiting for approval from relevant authorities in China.   When the approval is done, tens of thousands of patients will get their lives saved due to the efficient and comparatively cheap J-valve, which is a contribution not only to the Chinese society but also to the world, Zhang said.

Reprinted from Xinhua daily

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