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Repairing Heart Ruptures

Catheter-guided device seals damage from deadly complication of heart attack

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A new catheter-guided device that seals heart ruptures could save many people who suffer this often deadly heart attack-related complication.

That's the conclusion of a study in the February issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions.

The study of the Amplatzer muscular VSD occluder found 72 percent of 16 patients at five U.S. medical centers whose heart ruptures were repaired with the device were still alive a month after the procedure. In most cases, the patient's blood flow was normal or near-normal.

Each year in the United States, about 3,000 heart attack victims experience a rupture of the wall that separates the main pumping chambers of the heart. This ventricular septal defect (VSD) causes some blood to rush back into the right ventricle when the left ventricle contracts, rather than circulating through the body.

This may cause the body to become starved for blood and oxygen, and fluid may back up into the lungs. Without treatment, nine of 10 people with this defect die, more than half of them within a week of developing VSD.

This new device consists of two self-expanding wire mesh discs that are connected by a short "waist" that's sized to fit the hole in the heart. A catheter is used to deliver and position the device and seal the heart rupture.

Eleven of the patients in this study were monitored for, on average, nearly a year. The most recent follow-up found the device was successfully preventing all but minor blood flow between the left and right sides of the heart in 60 percent of the patients.

There was completely blocked blood flow in 20 percent of the patients, and there was moderate or large blood flow in the remaining 20 percent of patients.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about ventricular septal defect.

SOURCE: Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, news release, February 2004
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