Medical breakthrough for heart being tested in Phoenix-area clinical trial

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Nationwide, more than 5,000,000 people have moderate or severe heart-valve disease. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Nationwide, more than 5,000,000 people have moderate or severe heart-valve disease. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital is the only hospital in Arizona and one of just 60 around the world to participate in an investigational study called the Apollo Pivotal Trial. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital is the only hospital in Arizona and one of just 60 around the world to participate in an investigational study called the Apollo Pivotal Trial. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

It's a dysfunction of the heart valve that affects more than half of Americans, age 70 and older.

Nationwide, more than 5,000,000 people have moderate or severe heart-valve disease.

Now, Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital is the only hospital in Arizona and one of just 60 around the world to participate in an investigational study called the Apollo Pivotal Trial.

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They'll be working with a medical breakthrough regarding repairing the mitral valve.

That valve enables blood to flow from one chamber to another.

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"Patients with mitral regurgitation have a failing of this valve between the upper chamber and the lower chamber on the left side and so their main symptoms are shortness of breath, less activity, ability to exercise," said Tammy Querrey with Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital.

The current method of fixing a failing mitral valve requires very invasive surgery and a long recovery time.

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This new breakthrough slashes the recovery time and the time it takes to do the surgery.

We're talking a difference between cracking the chest open and a couple small incisions.

"We actually go through the apex of the heart with a catheter and deliver the valve into the mitral position. The access here takes 15 minutes. To deploy the valve itself takes four or five minutes and then we're out of there. Its that quick," said Interventional Cardiologist, Dr. Timothy Burne.

World-renowned cardiac doctors, Rick Kirshner and Byrne tell me, this could be a real turning point for patients.

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"This is absolutely a game changer, this is Star Trek. This is going from old-fashioned surgery too, which will still have a place in what we do, but it's going to be a total game changer for patient care, no question," said Director of Cardiac Surgery, Dr. Rick Kirshner.

Clinical trials will last about two years, then it will take about a year for the FDA approval, so we're looking at about 3 years until the first patient outside of the clinical trial gets of these valves put in.

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