Technology Update: First Human Implant of Portico Transcatheter Aortic Heart Valve Replacement

On the heels of the FDA approval for its Trifecta heart valve replacement, St. Jude Medical just announced that Dr. John Webb of St. Paul’s Hospital in Canada has completed the first human implant of the new Portico aortic valve replacement.

Transcatheter Portico Aortic Heart Valve Replacement
Portico Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement – Side View
(St. Jude Medical)

The Portico heart valve replacement falls into a “next generation” category of transcatheter devices that do not require the patient’s sternum or ribs to be broken during implant – via median sternotomy or thoracotomy. Instead, the Portico aortic valve replacement is implanted in the heart using a catheter inserted through the femoral artery or the left ventricle.

Similar to the Sapien (Edwards Lifesciences) and the CoreValve (Medtronic) devices, the Portico aortic valve replacement is currently intended to help over 400,000 “high risk” or “inoperable” patients who suffer from severe aortic valve stenosis. Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve which controls the flow of blood from the left ventricle to the aorta. As shown below, the Portico valve replacement is tricuspid — with each of its three leaflets made from pericardial (cow) tissue.

St. Jude Portico Aortic Valve Replacement Via Catheter - Top View
Portico Catheter Aortic Valve Replacement – Top View
(St. Jude Medical)

It is critical to note that the Portico heart valve replacement is not approved by the FDA in the United States. Furthermore, its clinical trials in Europe are not expected to begin until later this year. Still, St. Jude Medical and its team of clinical investigators are optimistic about this new aortic valve replacement. Dr. Greg Fontana, Vice Chairman of Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and principal investigator of the Portico’s upcoming clinical trial, recently noted:

Dr. Gregory Fontana, Lenox Hill, Chief Cardiac Surgery

“Many of the shortcomings of first generation devices have been addressed with the next generation St. Jude Medical Portico transcatheter valve.” — Dr. Greg Fontana

If you are interested in learning more about transcatheter valve treatment, please consider the special links below:

As always, I will  continue to monitor this latest technologies and clinical trials as we continue to learn more about these transformational and non-invasive approaches to heart valve replacement and heart valve repair surgery.

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of

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