Kuala Lumpur, Aug 25: Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) has marked another remarkable milestone by being the first hospital in Asia to successfully perform a new type of treatment for patients suffering from tricuspid regurgitation or leaky heart valves.
This treatment is a minimally invasive procedure that involves using a dry stent valve on a preloaded delivery system, called the TricValve Transcatheter Bicaval Valves system (Bioprosthesis).
The bioprosthesis has a Breakthrough Device Designation and is used for patients with severe tricuspid regurgitation (right heart leaky valve) with high risk for open-heart surgery.
The procedure was carried out at IJN on May 6, by the Heart Failure and Heart Transplant team and Cardiology Department.
The TricValve (pictured above) system is specifically developed for patients who suffer from severe tricuspid valve regurgitation, particularly those who are unable to control their symptoms through other treatments and are deemed too high-risk for surgery.
Tricuspid valve regurgitation is a condition where the leaflets of the tricuspid valve are unable to close properly, causing backflow of blood (or “regurgitate”) into the heart’s upper right chamber and in severe condition into the cava.
Untreated, the condition can lead to heart failure.
A common cause of this condition is an increased size of the lower right heart chamber (the right ventricle), which can cause a strain in the tricuspid valve’s ability to function.
Patients may experience symptoms such as fatigue, abnormal heart rhythms, shortness of breath, and swelling in the legs and abdomen. However, these signs often do not develop until the condition becomes severe.
Patients with mild tricuspid valve regurgitation are managed with medication to relieve the symptoms, and those with severe conditions may require heart valve repair or replacement.
Datuk Dr Azmee Mohd Ghazi, Clinical Director, Heart Failure & Heart Transplant, Consultant Cardiologist, IJN, explained that not all patients are able to withstand the risks of surgery or may have other conditions that make them unsuitable for certain procedures.
“For instance, a common surgical option for tricuspid valve regurgitation is annuloplasty, a procedure that tightens the ring around the valve in the heart. Unfortunately, in patients with severely dilated tricuspid annulus or with prior pacemaker or other underlying conditions, they will not be suitable for such a procedure.
“For such cases, it is important that we are able to offer a new innovative treatment like TricValve to help more patients alleviate their symptoms and improve their quality of life,” he said.
The dual-valve system is developed for a minimally invasive procedure and offers a quicker recovery period for patients with symptomatic severe tricuspid regurgitation. Hence, the learning curve for doctors is relatively fast, and the procedure can be performed effectively while ensuring the patient’s safety.
Meanwhile, Datuk Dr Aizai Azan Abdul Rahim, Chief Executive Officer and Senior Consultant Cardiologist, IJN said: “It’s no secret that IJN’s success has been built on the willingness of our staff to keep learning, exploring for new innovative treatments that can enhance our patients’ quality of life and pushing the boundaries to be able to treat more patients who are deemed unsuitable for surgeries.”
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