Central Valley docs pull off 'next big technology leap' in heart surgery

MADERA, Calif. (AP) For the first time in the Central Valley, doctors have replaced heart valves in two patients without cracking open their chests.

The Fresno Bee reports two teenagers at Children's Hospital Central California received new Melody Valves via a catheter inserted into a vein in their legs and threaded to their hearts. The entire procedure takes just a few hours.

In the past children with narrowed pulmonary arteries and defects in their pulmonary valves faced open-heart surgery and weeks of recovery.

The hospital's Dr. Carl Owada tells the Bee the new delivery system for the valves is "the next big technology leap" in cardiac care.

The Melody Valve was approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration in 2010. Children's is the first hospital in the Central Valley with approval to use it in patients.