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Seven-year-old Zoe is full of energy and loves to play tennis, swim, and hang out with her friends. But unlike her friends, Zoe was born with an “owie” on her heart. Hours after her birth, she was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which causes reduced blood flow to the lungs, resulting in oxygen-poor blood.
Zoe’s parents learned that Zoe would need open-heart surgery so that doctors could place a pulmonary valve conduit to create blood flow from her right ventricle to the pulmonary arteries with a donated, valved conduit. Since the average lifespan of pulmonary valve conduits is limited, and children need different sized valves as they grow, Zoe would need several open-heart surgeries over her lifetime.
By the time she was five, Zoe had been through three open-heart procedures. When routine tests following her last open-heart surgery revealed her newly implanted pulmonary valve conduit was failing, Zoe’s parents scoured the internet and medical journals in search of a less-invasive alternative. That’s when they discovered the Medtronic Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve (TPV) Therapy, which is designed to extend the life of failed pulmonary valve conduits using a less-invasive approach than open-heart surgery.
Zoe’s condition began to quickly deteriorate. “She was listless. She had lost her energy and enthusiasm,” explained her dad. So, in October 2008, Zoe underwent an emergency Melody TPV procedure.
With Melody TPV Therapy, a catheter (a thin, hollow tube) holding a specially designed heart valve is guided through a vein to the heart. The heart valve is attached to a wire frame that expands with the help of two balloons to deliver the valve, without the need to open the chest.
“The Melody procedure was a relief. We were bracing ourselves for another open-heart surgery,” her dad recalled. “Melody was a much simpler procedure. Instead of weeks in the hospital with drainage tubes, respirators, tons of medication, and a large scar, Zoe spent one night in the hospital.” Zoe's post-procedure care was far less than with her previous open-heart surgery.
“She did feel a bit sick for a short time after the procedure from the anesthesia but was saved from all the emotional challenges a six-year-old faces when she misses school and returns with a fresh scar visible above most of her shirts, dresses, and bathing suits.”
“Because of the Melody valve, we were able to delay Zoe’s next open-heart surgery,” shared her dad.
Results may vary. This is one person's experience and results are unique for each patient.
This story recounts the experience of one patient who received a Melody transcatheter pulmonary valve. Medtronic invited this person to share his story candidly. Caution: Experience, risks, outcomes, and results vary. Patient experience may not be comparable to that of Juan’s, depending in part upon the condition of the patient or with the techniques, facilities, or products used.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.