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In Heart Valves, a Brave, New, Non-Surgical World

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

In heart valves, the advent of new, less invasive procedures promises the usual advantages over open surgery and more; lower cost, reduced procedural morbidity, faster healing times, and also, a new kind of intermediate treatment option that could serve new patient groups. Most companies are still in development; two companies have begun clinical trials in a handful of patients. But despite the early stage of the field, it's incited a great deal of controversy, particularly afer heart surgery company Edwards Lifesciences acquired the leading percutaneous valve company for what many view as a surprisingly large chunk of money. Central to the debate is the continuing (and uncertain) role of cardiovascular surgeons, the heart valve experts, once the referring cardiologists get their hands on their own procedure.

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