A heart surgeon at Singing River Health System can replace an aortic valve without using stitches.
What he uses is an artificial valve with biological parts that is designed with a self-anchoring frame, which eliminates the need for sutures to keep it in place.
It makes surgery quicker and easier without sacrificing precision and durability, said Dr. Jason Williams, the surgeon who is performing the operation in the cardiac units at both Ocean Springs Hospital and Singing River Hospital.
SRHS announced this week it is one of the first institutions in the country and the only one on the Gulf Coast from Mobile to New Orleans to offer patients the new option.
“Aortic valve replacement is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the country,” Williams said, “and we are constantly looking to find safer, more efficient ways to offer this therapy to our patients.”
The sutureless Perceval valve reduces the time Williams needs to keep the heart open during surgery.
“This technology allows us to cut the time in half in some cases,” he told the Sun Herald. “The heart sustains less damage and recovers quicker.”
Williams, who earned his degree from Harvard Medical School and did his residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Duke University Medical Center, received training and extensive support from the company that developed the special valve.
The Perceval is engineered to restore natural valve performance and has a super-elastic stent that is able to adapt to the movement of the aorta while the heart is beating, after it is installed.
“The Perceval is designed for any patient who requires an AVR procedure, including complex cases,” SRHS said.
The shorter surgery time reduces other risks that arise from the complex procedure, Williams said. “We are proud to be one of the leading institutions to provide an innovative solution.”
The sutureless valve has been used in Canada and Europe for eight years. To date, it has been implanted in more than 20,000 patients in more than 300 hospitals, mostly in Europe, he said. It has been more recently approved by the FDA for use in the United States.
The valve is called bioprosthetic because part of it is made from animal tissue with all animal characteristics removed, he said.
The announcement comes in Heart Month, when SRHS is hosting ongoing education for general heart health.
The next meeting is Monday, at the Ocean Springs Hospital Education Center, 3109 Bienville Blvd.
For more information on general heart-health meetings, contact Jodi Ryder, community benefit manager, at 818-3189.
Dr. Jason Williams with Singing River Health System
- Completed his medical degree at Harvard Medical School
- Residency in general and thoracic surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Duke University Medical Center
- Chief of cardiothoracic surgery at David Grant Medical Center in California
- Board-certified in thoracic surgery