St. Joseph's Children's Hospital First in Tampa Bay to Implant Pulmonary Valve Without Open-Heart Surgery

Jun 09, 2011, 14:11 ET from St. Joseph's Children's Hospital

St. Joseph's Children's Hospital is among a small number of facilities in the country to offer the less-invasive procedure for valve replacement.

TAMPA, Fla., June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When cardiologists at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital told 21-year-old Adam Romano that he needed to have his pulmonary valve replaced, the diagnosis was not a surprise. Born with the congenital heart defect Tetralogy of Fallot, Adam underwent open-heart surgery when he was 2 years old and his family has anticipated the need for another open-heart surgery for the past decade.


But thanks to the use of an innovative medical device at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, Adam didn't need another incision to repair his heart. He was one of the first patients in Tampa to receive the Melody® Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve. After inserting a catheter into a vein in the groin, Dr. Jeremy Ringwald, a pediatric cardiologist at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, guided the Melody valve up to Adam's heart and secured it over the leaky pulmonary valve.

The Melody valve, from Medtronic, is the first medical device of its kind to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The valve replaces narrow or leaky pulmonary valve conduits – tubes connecting the heart to the lungs – in children or adults who've previously undergone corrective congenital heart defect surgery.

"Children born with blocked or leaky heart valves often undergo multiple open-heart surgeries before reaching adulthood to replace conduits that have worn out or that they've outgrown," said Dr. Ringwald. "This new transcatheter technology can lengthen the amount of time until a patient needs an additional surgery, with the goal of prolonging it as long as possible."

According to Dr. Ringwald, the Melody valve procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia in less than two hours, and unlike open-heart procedures, patients are often discharged from the hospital within 24-48 hours.

Stacy Romano, Adam's mother, who vividly remembers spending weeks at the hospital after her son's open-heart surgery 19 years ago, is amazed at his speedy recovery.

"Adam was home two days after the procedure, and within no time, he was back to being an active, normal young man," said Romano. "I know firsthand that this would not be the case if he had open-heart surgery."

St. Joseph's Children's Hospital has one of the largest pediatric cardiovascular programs in the Southeast and is a regional referral center for pediatric heart surgery and the diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart defects before and after birth. For more information on the Melody® Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve and whether it is a treatment option for you or your child, please call (813) 443-2046.

SOURCE St. Joseph's Children's Hospital