New balloon device is a promising ‘last chance treatment’ for heart failure

Treating heart failure is tricky business, especially when the patient is deemed too unwell to have open heart surgery. This was the case for a patient in London, who became the first patient ever to have a balloon device implanted into his heart to close off a leaky heart valve. The balloon technique is considered a “last chance” treatment, and works by being inserted into the damaged valve just below the patient’s skin through minor surgery. Once in place, the tiny balloon can be inflated to stop the backflow of blood and can be deflated over time as the heart recovers. Now, five months after the patient received the balloon treatment, his heart has healed enough for surgeons to carry out a conventional operation to repair the valve.

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New balloon device is a promising ‘last chance treatment’ for heart failure

Treating heart failure is tricky business, especially when the patient is deemed too unwell to have open heart surgery. This was the case for a patient in London, who became the first patient ever to have a balloon device implanted into his heart to close off a leaky heart valve. The balloon technique is considered a “last chance” treatment, and works by being inserted into the damaged valve just below the patient’s skin through minor surgery. Once in place, the tiny balloon can be inflated to stop the backflow of blood and can be deflated over time as the heart recovers. Now, five months after the patient received the balloon treatment, his heart has healed enough for surgeons to carry out a conventional operation to repair the valve.

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