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St Jude's heart valve repair devices

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

The Tailor Flexible Ring and Tailor Flexible Band, two devices developed by St Jude Medical for the repair of the heart's mitral and tricuspid valves, have been approved in Japan. When valves become diseased or damaged, the shape of the annulus the fibrous ring that surrounds the opening of heart valves can change. This causes the valve's leaflets to become misaligned, preventing the valve from closing tightly. St Jude's devices support the valve accommodating the natural movement of the annulus. In 2005, the number of valve repair procedures performed in Japan increased more than 20% from the prior year, to nearly 6,400 (according to statistics reported in the September 2007 issue of General Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery). The Japanese regulators also granted reimbursement approval. The St Paul, Minnesota firm intends to launch the products immediately; they are already launched in the US and Europe.

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