Medtronic's aortic valve reduces death rates in trial

|By:, SA News Editor

Medtronic's (MDT) CoreValve, an aortic valve that doctors can insert into the heart without cracking open ribs, cut death rates more than open-heart surgery in a trial of 747 people.

In the study, 14% of patients who received CoreValve died within a year of surgery vs 19% of those who had open-heart surgery.

"This is the type of evidence that changes guidelines and recommendations for care," says Mount Sinai Hospital's David Adams.

Edwards Lifesciences (EW) sells a similar device but it hasn't proved more effective than open-heart surgery and sales have been lower than expected. (PR)

Meanwhile, Medtronic plans to continue working on its Symplicity device for reducing blood pressure despite a surprising failure in trials. The company said "signals" in the data suggest that the treatment might benefit certain patients and that the procedure involving the device may not have been carried out correctly or completely during the testing. (PR)