Sunday, June 24, 2007

Biodegradable device allows surgeons to repair heart valves in babies

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: A biodegradable ring, which comes in a variety of sizes smaller than the 26mm conventional ring, has enabled cardiac surgeons to repair heart valves in children as young as six months old.
The National Heart Institute (IJN), the first institute in the Asia Pacific region to use the Kalangos Ring (since last February), has conducted about 40 operations using such rings, in which 37 of them were done on children.
Datuk Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub, chief cardiothoracic surgeon at IJN, said that one of the patients was a six-month-old baby.
Prior to this, the conventional ring used to repair heart valves was 26mm and surgeons would have to modify the ring for children, or defer operations to repair heart valves for children until they were older.
The Kalangos Ring, made from synthetic polydioxanone polymer, with its smallest size at 16mm, dissolves within the heart tissue, and as such, does not require the use of anti-coagulation drugs.
It was designed by Prof Afksendiyos Kalangos who lectures on cardiothoracic surgery at University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland. He said that he first implanted the innovative ring to stabilise the repaired valve on a patient in 1994 in Geneva.
He then experimented with the device for 10 years before creating the biodegradable ring.
Prof Kalangos said that he has personally used the ring on more than 300 patients, in which 70% of the cases were children. In addition, other doctors who have adopted the ring have performed similar operations on 700 more patients.
Both Prof Kalangos and Dr Mohd Azhari spoke at the First Advanced Valve Repair in Children Symposium held at IJN on Friday and Saturday, to promote understanding in the surgical management of valve repair in children.
Dr Mohd Azhari said that the Kalangos Ring provided predictable and durable repair, while the conventional ring was only a temporary solution for patients who would eventually need valve replacement.
He said that from 1993 up to September last year, IJN had performed valve repair surgery on 837 patients.

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