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New treatment methods for the beating heart: Innovative aortic and mitral valve treatments as well as atrial appendage closure are possible at the Heart Center of the University Medical Center Göttingen.

Heart failure caused by calcium deposits in the aortic valves and leaky mitral valves have so far been operated on with the heart-lung machine on the open, shut-down heart. In close collaboration with cardiac surgeons, cardiologists and anesthetists, the Göttingen Heart Center now carries out these operations on the beating heart in a minimally invasive manner.

Older people with an increased risk of surgery benefit from these innovative methods in particular, as the catheter technology makes the procedures much gentler. Another catheter-assisted procedure, the closure of the atrial appendage, protects patients with atrial fibrillation from a stroke by clot formation if they cannot tolerate the intake of blood-thinning medication. The hospital can be left after just a few days.

Before the implantation, the calcified aortic valve is widened with a balloon catheter. The bioprosthesis, which is mounted in a mesh tube and folded in a catheter, is then placed in the heart. The catheter is advanced through the inguinal artery or directly through the chest wall to the site of the diseased heart valve. There the new flap is unfolded and anchored.

This procedure eliminates the valve's inability to close by holding the two cusps of the mitral valve together with a new type of clip. This is brought forward via a cardiac catheter via the inguinal vein to the corresponding point of the heart and placed in a controlled manner.

The transition from the auricle to the left auricle is closed with a stopper to prevent blood clots from entering the bloodstream and, in the worst case, leading to a stroke. The implant made of flexible but dimensionally stable nitinol wires is advanced with a cardiac catheter over the veins to the mouth of the auricle. If the wire mesh emerges from the catheter, it opens automatically and seamlessly closes the opening of the atrial appendage to the left atrium.

These minimally invasive methods of heart treatment offer high-risk patients a treatment option. Prof. Dr. Gerd Hasenfuß, Director of the Department of Cardiology and Pneumology and Chairman of the Heart Center of the University Medical Center Göttingen, says: “We consider these new treatment techniques to be a valuable addition to our range of methods and in our endeavors to treat patients at the Heart Center Göttingen more and more efficiently . "(Nh)