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BY THE NUMBERS //

Heart Repair

Aortic valve replacements made of synthetic materials and cow tissue are helping patients more patients survive the failure of their valves.

By Charles Slack // The MGH Research Issue 2011
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2–4
Percentage of Americans age 65 or older with mild to severe aortic stenosis, in which the aortic valve’s flaps narrow and harden, restricting blood flow and forcing the heart to work harder, potentially leading to serious heart damage

200,000
Estimated number of people in the United States each year who need a new aortic valve

50,000
Number of valve replacements performed yearly in the United States through open heart surgery; the majority of patients, too physically weak or elderly to undergo the surgery, must opt for balloon valvuloplasty, a temporary solution

25
Number of U.S. research hospitals, including MGH, participating in a trial for percutaneous cardiac valve therapy: inserting valves, made of synthetic mesh and cow tissue, by way of a catheter through the skin into the arteries in the leg or chest

2
Groups of test subjects: (A) high-risk patients, some receiving standard open heart procedures and others the new percutaneous approach; and (B) patients too ill to be considered for open heart surgery

49.3
Percentage of Group B patients who had not undergone the percutaneous procedure and were alive after one year

69.3
Percentage of Group B patients who had undergone the percutaneous procedure and were alive after one year

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