On January 15, 2008, Dr. Evan Zahn, Chief of Cardiology at Miami Children's Hospital’s (MCH) Congenital Heart Institute, performed the world’s first non-surgical tricuspid valve replacement via catheter on 9-year-old Charles Anderson from Gainesville. The procedure took just over four hours to complete. Charles is recovering in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit in excellent condition.
Charles was born with Ebstein’s anomaly, a rare congenital heart defect where the tricuspid valve, which lies between the right atrium and right ventricle, is displaced and severely deformed. Throughout his short life, Charles has undergone five open-heart surgeries to replace the tricuspid valve, including one when he was only days old. All of Charles’ surgeries were performed in northern Florida.
As time went by Charles suffered a stroke and his health started to worsen. It was time for the young boy to undergo another risky valve replacement. The Anderson family sought help from heart surgeons across the country, but to no avail. At that time the Andersons turned to Miami Children's Hospital and met with Dr. Zahn. Dr. Zahn told them of the possibility of replacing the valve not by surgery but by a catheter through the neck, a minimally-invasive procedure that has never been done before. The family agreed. Dr. Zahn then obtained permission from Medtronic for the compassionate use of its Melody™ Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve and Ensemble™ Transcatheter Delivery System to save Charles’ life.
“Charles had few options left,” said Dr. Zahn. “Traditional open heart surgery would have been too risky and our group saw this innovative procedure as a potential life-saving measure for this little boy. It’s exciting and nerve wracking when you line yourself up to do something that has never been done before, but obviously we are all thrilled with the way things worked out.”
This valve replacement procedure marks the culmination of a decade of medical advances in catheter valve implantation. Of the four heart valves - the pulmonary valve, aortic valve, and mitral valve – the tricuspid valve has always been the most complicated to treat. This procedure marks a major breakthrough in the treatment of tricuspid valve disease.
“Along with our cardiac surgical colleagues our philosophy has always been to minimize the cumulative trauma that our young patients must endure over the course of their lifetime. This new, non-surgical method of valve replacement is a quantum leap forward towards achieving this goal,” said Dr. Zahn.
About the Congenital Heart Institute
For over 50 years, the Congenital Heart Institute at Miami Children's has been the largest provider of care for pediatric congenital heart patients in Florida. Over the past decade, the team has cared for children from 324 cities, 32 countries and 25 states. In 2002, MCH joined forces with Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, offering one program at two locations.
About Miami Children's Hospital
Founded in 1950, Miami Children's Hospital is the only licensed specialty hospital for children in South Florida. The 275-bed freestanding facility is ranked by Child magazine among the best children’s hospitals in the nation and is the only Florida pediatric hospital to be included in U.S.News & World Report’s 2007 listing of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.” Miami Children's has expertise in all aspects of pediatric medicine and serves children from birth to age 21.