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Surgeon Chooses New Technology For Own Heart Surgery
Dr. Isaac Hariton, a retired general surgeon living in Florida spent $51,000 of his own money to have noninvasive heart surgery done in Cali, Colombia rather than have open heart surgery in the U.S. where his insurance would have covered the cost of the procedure.
Heart Surgery of the Aortic Valve
“At age 86, I did not want the trauma of the only procedure I was offered in the States,” said Hariton, “I didn’t want to be opened up like a chicken”.
Watch author’s video on “Noninvasive Open Heart Surgery”
“I had stenosis of the aortic valve,” explained Hariton, “this is the valve that goes from the heart to the aorta which controls the blood flow to the rest of the body.
Hariton chose a U.S.-made heart device called a CoreValve, an artificial valve inserted through an artery in his leg. The device is not FDA approved in the states. However, there are currently 41 clinical trials going on in 44 states on the procedure.
“When a U.S. patient has to go abroad with a U.S. cardiologist to get a U.S.-made heart device that’s still awaiting U.S. approval, something’s wrong with the picture, FDA critics say.” Source: The case of the convoluted valve job – Living – MiamiHerald.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/05/2048969_p2/the-case-of-the-convoluted-valve.html.
Hariton traveled to Cali, Columbia with Dr. Eduardo Jose de Marchena who did the procedure on June 6, 2010, with Antonio Dager, a Colombian physician who received training in Miami. The procedure was done at Angiografía de Occidente S.A.
De Marchena, M.D., is professor of medicine and surgery at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and Associate Dean for International Medicine Institute of the University. He is an expert in interventional cardiology and has spent more than 20 years researching and training other physicians in the field. Source: Find A Doctor | Neurological Surgery at Miller School of Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://neurosurgery.med.miami.edu/find-a-doctor/profile?id=1010.
Marchena, who trained in Europe to perform the CoreValve procedure, said over 50 other patients have received the valve in Cali. Three of the patients were from Miami.
“I knew all about the CoreValve procedure because I’m a general surgeon,” said Hariton, “This procedure is approved in many, many countries including India, France, Israel, and Italy; over 10,000 procedures have been done.”
“I could have had the operation the other way without spending a cent of my own money; but you know they have to open up your chest, and that’s a big operation. The CoreValve procedure is much simpler than open heart surgery; it’s more like putting in a heart stent,” said Hariton.
“With this operation you don’t have any scars, and it is a much less traumatic procedure,” he added.
Open Heart Surgery for the Elderly
“The Medtronic CoreValve® System of heart valve replacement is especially beneficial for elderly patients for whom open-heart surgery to fix a heart valve is extremely high risk,” says de Marchena.
“Here in the states the procedure is in the experimental phase,” concurred Hariton, “so they only allow it to be done if you are really sick or almost ready to die, you know.” “I may be 86, but I’m extremely healthy for a guy my age,” Hariton said.
Non Invasive Heart Valve Replacement
According to Hariton it is a much smarter decision to choose a noninvasive procedure rather than go through open heart surgery.
Clinical Trials on the Medtronic CoreValve® System
The purpose of the study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the Medtronic CoreValve® System in the treatment of symptomatic, severe, aortic stenosis in subjects who have a predicted high risk for aortic valve surgery and/or very high risk for aortic valve surgery. Read more information about the clinical trials and their locations.
Read the interview of the doctor: “Doctor Saves Retired Surgeon From Trauma of Open Heart Surgery” In this interview Dr. de Marchena describes in laymen’s terms how the procedure works.
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The author: Ilene Little
Ilene has written 36 posts to this blog. Ilene Little, CEO of Traveling 4 Health & Retirement (THR) understands that knowledge of quality "medical resources" is pertinent to both medical travelers and Boomers considering overseas retirement. She has written the definitive consumer guide on medical travel “How To Plan A Successful Medical Tourism Trip” - The ONLY book with advice for patients from 12 leading experts on medical tourism!
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