In honor of American Heart Month, we’re highlighting the CHOC Children’s Heart Institute including stories of our brave patients, as well as our amazing experts and some of the cutting-edge procedures they are using in caring for infants and children with heart defects/disease. We recently spoke to Dr. Farhouch Berdjis, medical director of the CHOC Cardiac Catheterization Lab, about the new Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve (TPV) Therapy, a less invasive procedure which can delay the need for open heart surgery.
How do heart valves function?
The heart has four chambers. As the heart beats, normal heart valves repeatedly open and close fully to ensure that blood flows forward through the heart’s chambers. A narrowed or leaky heart valve can cause dizziness, chest pain, weakness, and can lead to serious medical problems.
What is the Melody therapy and what makes it so unique?
The Melody therapy treats narrowed or leaking pulmonary valve conduits without open-heart surgery. With this therapy, a thin, hollow catheter or “tube” holding a specially designed heart valve is inserted into a child’s vein in his leg and guided to his heart. The heart valve is attached to a wire frame that expands with the help of a balloon to push the child’s blocked pulmonary conduit open. CHOC is one of a few hospitals in the United States currently using this state-of-the-art, FDA- approved procedure to treat the pulmonary valve.
How will patients and families benefit from this procedure?
This therapy can be an alternative to surgery for some children who have already undergone previous heart surgeries. Patients can expect less scarring, less stress to their circulatory system, and an overall speedy and positive recovery both physically and emotionally.
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How to prevent and treat respiratory illnesses this season
Unfortunately, many kids get infected with respiratory illnesses in the fall and winter seasons. CHOC experts highly encourage all eligible members of households to receive their annual flu shots. Other preventative measures like good hygiene and staying home when sick can help protect families from illness. The following articles and guides provide more information.
At CHOC, our highly specialized and board-certified pediatric cardiology team and cardiothoracic surgeons provide patients and families with advanced cardiac services.