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First In Michigan For New Valve

Published on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

McLaren Northern Michigan was the first medical center in Michigan to implant the Edwards Intuity Elite valve system, a minimally invasive approach to aortic valve replacement, following FDA approval.

Each year more than 200,000 Americans suffer with severe aortic stenosis, with over 60,000 patients needing aortic valve replacement procedures, usually performed during an open heart surgery. The Intuity system is a minimally invasive procedure giving critically ill patients a potential new surgical option.

With the Intuity procedure, patients recover more easily than conventional surgical aortic valve replacement procedures because of simplified placement and shortened operation times. Intuity is also called the “sutureless” valve, using only 3 sutures needed for placement compared to 12-15 sutures with conventional aortic valves. Patients benefit from a smaller and less invasive incision, less pain, decreased complications, and recover faster and easier in the days that follow. The new Intuity procedure provides the surgeons with more options to find the best fit for their patients.

Chris Akins, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at McLaren Northern Michigan, went through extensive training to be able to perform this procedure. “This new valve is more efficient for operative time compared to other valves which means less complications and better outcomes in a more critically ill patient population,” stated Dr. Akins. “We remove the diseased valve and place, under direct vision, the Intuity Elite Valve. This method assures there are no leaks and optimal placement without contrast, dye, or radiation.”

One of the first patients to receive this valve at McLaren Northern Michigan is Alvin VanHorne, a Cheboygan resident. Alvin, who suffers from Aortic Stenosis, complained of being short of breath just taking a few steps and became inactive due to medical complications. After a review of his ailments and health history, Dr. Akins suggested the Intuity Elite valve surgery.

Today, Alvin is walking more and getting back to his normal routine. “I feel better and can start doing things for myself again,” stated Alvin. “I have my life back.”